CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Just as we're sweating through the sweltering heat, it's important to remember our four-legged friends are trying to keep cool, too. If you can't bring them inside to enjoy the air conditioning, vets at the Humane Society of Charlotte recommend a few simple steps to help Fido keep cool through these skyrocketing temperatures.
Dogs cool down by panting, which is far less efficient than sweating, so it's very important that they have access to clean, fresh water. Refill their bowls often with fresh, cool water and make sure they have a shady place to rest.
Never leave pets in a parked car. Even with windows down, temperatures can quickly climb to dangerous levels. Even if the temperature is not that hot outside, inside a car, temperatures can climb to over 130 degrees. In just a few short minutes, the heat can be deadly. On hot and humid days, a car parked in the sun can heat up by 30 degrees per minute!
You may also need to limit exercise on very hot days. Shortening walks and keeping exercise to the early morning and evening hours will not only keep them from overheating, but can prevent burns to their paws on hot asphalt.
If your pet shows signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, fever, or vomiting immediately move them to a cool location and contact your veterinarian. To lower their body temperature, you can apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them. Let them drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes.
For more on keeping pets safe this summer, visit the Humane Society of Charlotte's website.