TYLER, Texas — The dog days of summer are a long way from being over. Much of East Texas is under a heat advisory into Tuesday.
On Monday, the airports in Longview and Tyler both recorded the first 100-degree temperatures of the year.
During the August heat wave, veterinarians are urging pet owners to take the hot weather seriously.
"It's always best to have these guys inside in the air conditioning," Dr. Gary Spence of Spence at White Animal hospital said. "If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them, and you got to let them inside. It's the best place for them to be."
If bringing your pet inside is not an option, there are steps you need to take take to ensure they remain cool during the hot days.
"The most important thing across the board for pets is make sure they have plenty of shade, and plenty of fresh water,” Spence said.
When it is time to take your pet outside, be mindful of how hot it is before you take them out. Owners should also be mindful of the surface the pets are walking on.
“One thing that a lot of people don't realize this time of year is that when they take their dog for a run, the asphalt is ridiculous. It's 150 degrees," Spence said. "Get up a little bit earlier in the morning, take them in the morning, or wait until evening after you've had dinner and all, and take them out for a run in the evening when it's cooled down."
Exercise should be limited in time as well to make sure the pet does not get too exhausted.
Pets should never be left alone inside a car during any time of the year. However, during the summer, leaving a pet inside a car can be particularly dangerous and even fatal.
"I know you want to have them with you, but they're more susceptible [to heat related illness] than a child because an animal cannot sweat as efficiently as we do," Spence explained. "We can sweat all over. A dog sweats on his tongue, and that's it. That's the only place they've got to exchange moisture is in their mouth and on their tongue."
Spence says owners should watch their pet closely during the summer to make sure they are not suffering from heat exhaustion.
"They'll act dizzy. They'll act disoriented. They'll slobber a lot. You get a lot of slobbering when it gets really severe," Spence explained. "They'll start staggering. When a dog's temperature gets above 104 [degrees], you got problems."
If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, you should take them to your vet immediately. On the way to the vet, Spence says owners should cool of their dog by placing ice-packs under their belly.