This summer has barely started, and the heat is already an issue. I want to remind everyone that each year many pets die of heat stroke.

People leave their animals outside without any thought of how the animal is doing. Unfortunately, this can lead to an animal’s death due to heat stroke. Heat stroke in pets has to be taken seriously.

When the heat index is pushing 100 we need to be mindful of the amount of time pets spend outdoors. It’s also advisable to avoid letting our pets walk on hot sidewalks and hot pavement as this can burn their foot pads.

Pets that are outside need plenty of cool, fresh water. They should be in a shady, cool place. A dog or cat house may shelter them from rain, but these structures are like an oven in hot weather. Simply stated, when you’re hot, they’re hot. Bring pets inside!

Dogs that are left outside can succumb to the heat so it is important to know the symptoms of heat stroke in pets. Some of the symptoms are:

• Excessive panting, drooling.

• Red gums and tongue.

• Lethargy, wobbly movement, weakness.

• Muscle tremors, seizures.

• Mental confusion, dizziness.

If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, get them to a vet ASAP. Use wet, cool towels to place on your pet on the way to the vet. This will help your pet cool down.

Certain factors make pets more susceptible to heat stroke:

• Pets that are overweight or elderly.

• Pets that have respiratory issues or heart failure.

• Breeds with brachycephalic anatomy (flat faces).

Our pets should be considered family. We need to take proper care of them. They enrich our lives by giving us so much unconditional love.

Keeping them in a cool place during extreme hot weather is just common sense. Please be sure to keep your pets cool and safe from the heat this summer.