With the hot, dry conditions sticking around the Mid-State, area veterinarians are reminding pet owners to take precautions to prevent their animals from suffering heat exhaustion.
Dr. Danielle Mannis of the Hermitage Animal Clinic said she encourages pet owners to keep their animals in cool conditions during the summer months.
"The heat is hard on all of them because they do not sweat the way we sweat. Their heat exchange is different than ours," she explained.
If a pet stays outside, it is extremely important the animal has access to fresh water and plenty of shade, especially during periods of extreme heat.
"When they over heat their internal body temperature goes up rapidly and with the heat outside already being over what we are used to, it just really doesn't take much to cause heat exhaustion," Mannis said.
The veterinarian also added that both dogs and cats pant in an effort to cool down, however when the temperatures become extreme it is often hard for animals to lower their core temperature.
"Their body is trying to get rid of heat and they can't because the heat that is coming in is warmer than the heat that is coming out, so they are just getting hotter and hotter and hotter," Mannis said.
Mannis said so far this summer, she has seen one animal related death caused by the heat.
She also added that excessive panting and vomiting are often signs of heat exhaustion.
"If you pets gum color is red, then that is another sign that the probably have heat exhaustion as well," she said.
Mannis said it is important for owners to get their pet to a clinic at the first signs of heat exhaustion.
Anyone who sees an animal in distress can call Metro Animal Control at 615-862-7928 or your local control office.