How to protect yourself and your pet from heat-related illness

Heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths every year, killing more people than hurricanes or floods.
Posted at 7:32 AM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 14:54:30-04

BOISE, Idaho — There are a few things to keep in mind to protect yourself and your pet from heat-related illness as summer heat picks up.

When you're out in the heat for a long period of time, you can be at risk for anything from sunburn to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"A lot of people this time of year are not good at drinking water and they stay out in the heat too long," said Natasha King-Anderson, a Family Nurse-Practitioner with Central District Health.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin and headaches.

"(Call 911 ) If you're having a fever, you're dizzy, your nauseous and your passing out," King-Anderson said, because these are symptoms of heat stroke.

Heat-related illness can also impact pets. Symptoms of heat exhaustion in dogs include excessive panting, drooling and their gums changing color.

"If you're suspecting that there's any heat exhaustion seek medical care immediately. It is really difficult for an animal to cool down on its own," said Kristine Schellhaas with the Idaho Humane Society.

There are some easy ways to prevent this from happening. Make a plan for your dog if they're going out and about with you. Make sure any stores you're going inside of will let dogs in and never leave them in a car by themselves unless it's running and the a/c is on.

"Keep your dogs to play in water to keep them exercised. That's a really great way to keep them cool in the heat," Schellhaas said.

It's also important to check and make sure the pavement isn't too hot for your dog's paws. Lay the back of your hand on the pavement for five or six seconds.

If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them.

Last year the Idaho Humane Society responded to more than 400 calls of dogs in hot cars. We have already seen some instances this year of dogs having to be rescued from a hot car or even dying. So make a plan for your furry friend and always look before you lock.