How to protect dogs in intense heat

Posted May 28, 2019 6:48 a.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2019 10:02 a.m. EDT

— Dog owners were already at the Carolina Pines Dog Park at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning trying to give their pets some time outside while it was still cool.

Temperatures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be the highest this year so far, topping out around 95 or 96 degrees in Raleigh. Experts say it's best to walk your pets before the sun comes up and after it goes down.

Dogs, similar to people, can easily get heat-related injuries and illnesses if you're not careful. Page Wages, a veterinarian at Care First Animal Hospital, said she has already treated one dog for heat stroke this year.

She shared some signs to look out for.

"Excessive panting, red or purple tongues -- if they start vomiting or have diarrhea you're in trouble," Wages said.

Other symptoms include drooling, difficulty walking and increased heart rate.

If your pet exhibits these symptoms, place the pet in the shade or air conditioning immediately, and apply cool – not cold – water to reduce the animal’s core body temperature. Get help from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

To keep pets safe in high temperatures, make sure they are hydrated before, during and after walks, Wages said. If you have to walk them in direct sunlight, walk them on the grass to protect their paws from the hot concrete.

Dog parks can be a great place to bring pets, as they're usually in the shade. Find a list of local dog parks here.