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Protecting Your Pets During Extreme Heat, Hot Weather

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you can't deal with the heat, imagine how your pet may be feeling.

While it seems like common sense to protect your dog from this kind of hot weather, one local veterinarian says he still sees cases of heat exhaustion among pets every year.

When walking outside, a person cools themselves off by sweating.

Doctors say a person can sweat out an entire pint in one hour, but dogs -- they can't do that.

Dr. RJ Skalos says panting is how dogs try to cool off, but that panting can quickly change to something more serious in a matter of just 10 minutes.

He says it's best to only take your dogs out in this kind of heat in the early morning or in the evening, and to monitor them for any signs of heat exhaustion.

"You can also kind of look at their mucus membranes, in particular the insides of their ears or their gums. If they're more than pink and starting to get into that reddish stage, stop what you're doing and you need to get a timeout immediately in those cases," Skalos said.

With temperatures at and above 90º this week, Skalos says the ground heats up a lot faster, and you need to monitor your dog's paws.

He says concrete and sidewalks are typically 10º hotter than the air, and can typically burn off your dog's skin in seconds.

While it may seem obvious in this kind of heat, Skalos says you should absolutely never leave your dog inside a vehicle.

Even if the window is cracked, he says the vehicle can heat up and kill your dog in a matter of minutes.

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