CHICAGO – If you’re uncomfortable in extremely hot weather, then chances are your pet is too.

Along with being smaller, they’re also wearing fur coats, making long stays in the extreme heat potentially dangerous.

Pet owners need to take extra precautions to make sure their fur babies don’t overheat or get sick in the excessive heat this summer.

WGN News Now spoke to Veterinarian Dr. Kirsten Plomin, President of the Chicago Veterinarian Medical Association, to get some helpful hints to protect pets from hot weather.

Plomin said pets have a decreased ability to cool themselves from the heat and pet owners need to be watchful when outside. 

“They have really thick coats,” said Plomin. “They don’t sweat like we do so they release their heat from panting, from their paw pads, and they just have a harder time with it, so things can happen very quickly.”

One big precaution pet owners should keep in mind is never leave their pet unattended in the heat or in a car in the heat. 

Plomin also recommended, “Be mindful not to leave your pet on hot asphalt as their paw pads can get burned and can cause some pretty serious damage.” 

She added that pet owners should not leave their furry friends around water or pools because not all pets can swim well.

To keep pets safe at home, make sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water and try to walk your pet in the morning and shorten or limit their afternoon time outside.

Plomin added to be sure to watch out for signs of overheating in your pet:

  • Excessive panting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness
  • Collapse

If your pet has bloody vomiting or diarrhea, Plomin said it may be a sign of shock and you should take them to an emergency vet or a primary care practitioner immediately.

“If you’re hot outside, then your pet is also going to be hot,” said Plomin. “If you have any pets that have flat faces whether dogs or cats…pugs, boxers, your brachycephalic or short-faced cats or any overweight dogs, elderly pets or those with heart or lung diseases, we need to be extra cautious with them in the heat as they’re not going to be able to get out of it as well.”

For more information go to Chicago Veterinary Medical Associaton.