Veterinarians at a Portland animal hospital issued a hot weather safety reminder to pet owners Wednesday as the metro area welcomed the first day of summer.
Dove Lewis Animal Hospital staff said they have already seen their first heat-related death of the year.
On Wednesday, a Portland family raced to the hospital, holding their dog in their arms. They said they left the dog in their car for an unknown amount of time. The dog died from severe heat stroke.
While it's the first fatality of the season, veterinarians at Dove Lewis said they treated countless other animals Wednesday for various degrees of heat stroke.
Experts wanted to remind pet owners that it's never OK to leave an animal locked in a car that is in direct heat.
Just like elderly humans, older dogs can be especially susceptible to higher temperatures.
"They can't sweat like we can so they can't lose heat effectively," said Dr. Mitch Ellfults, of Dove Lewis. "Especially (when it gets) humid like it does here, it makes it more difficult to lose heat."
Doctors said it's important to become familiar with the warning signs before pets get into a dangerous situation. They recommend always leaving pets extra water, and if you go outside, bring plenty of water with you.
They also recommend watching the amount of exercise a dog gets and, if possible, keep pets out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Believe it or not, experts also said pets can get sunburned just like humans, especially if the animal has light-colored hair. Doctors recommend rubbing a bit of pet-safe sun block on unprotected areas.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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