Protect your pet from the heat this summer

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Local animal hospitals and Pima Animal Care Center report seeing many cases of dogs severely burned and injured in triple digit temperatures.

Two-year-old Silver was brought into PACC after suffering severe sun burn on her back and has lost most of her skin.

The shelter is starting to take in many dogs that have suffered heat exhaustion, many times because they have been left in hot cars.

"It can take minutes, less than two minutes," PACC shelter vet Dr. Jen Wilcox said. "Temperature skyrockets inside the car.

"We're just starting to see the worst of things," Wilcox said. "No fatalities yet but we're bracing ourselves for things."

But the Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital has seen at least two fatalities this summer.

One dog was left out in the yard by an owner who left town.

"It's just like ut; When we get hot, our heart rate goes up," said internist Dr. Brisa Hsieh. "We start to sweat. Dogs don't have the ability to sweat; they pant."

Panting is the first sign of trouble, then their blood vessels start to dilate and their heart rate goes up.

"Eventually their heart can't keep up anymore and they go into shock," Dr. Hsieh said.

"It's heartbreaking all around," Dr. Wilcox said. "We hope we can reach out to new folks and let them know. Break the habit of taking your dog everywhere with you in the summer months."

The following are some early warning signs that your pet might be overheating:

Predisposing factors:

- Exposure to elevated ambient temperature

- Lack of water or shade

- Excessive exercise, especially during hot summer days

- Obese and large dogs are more prone to heat stroke

Early signs:

- Excessive panting

- Bright red gums

- Rectal temperature greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit

Late signs:

- Mental dullness and weakness

- Vomiting and diarrhea, may contain blood

- Kidney failure

- Seizures, coma


- Wrap the pet in wet towels and fan the pet

- Do not immerse in cold water

- Encourage to drink water if the pet is alert and not vomiting

- Transport to a vet for evaluation and treatment

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