HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - As the weather warms, experts say you may not realize how easy it is to endanger your pets. Just like humans, pets can die of heat stroke.

We talked to Karen Buchan of Huntsville Animal Services about how to keep animals safe in the heat.

She provided these guidelines to keep your pets safe this summer:

  • Always provide plenty of fresh, clean water for animals and plenty of shade when outside of the house.
  • Bring pets inside during the heat of the day and let them rest in a cool area.
    • Do not leave pets in a garage unless there is air conditioning.
  • Do not leave pets in a parked car. Animals may die from heat stroke.
    • The temperature outside may be 80 degrees, but the temperature inside a car can quickly climb to 120 degrees.
  • Do not exercise pets in hot, humid weather.
    • Exercise pets in the cool of the early morning or evening.
    • This also protects their paw padding from getting burned.
  • Be alert for the signs of heat stroke: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red tongue.
  • If any animal shows signs of heat stroke, cool down immediately with cool water from a hose, and go directly to a veterinary clinic for further treatment.
    • Dogs and cats do not sweat like humans. They keep cool by panting in cool air.

If your pet becomes overheated, Buchan said you should seek medical attention.

“They become lethargic, they can drop, they can even stop breathing," she said. "If you suspect your animal is overheated, you need to get them in a cooler place, and cool them off with a hose, with water.”