TOLEDO, Ohio — This summer, everyone wants to get out and get back into a normal routine, and for many of us that includes playing with the family dog.
However, when it's hot and our best friends are chasing balls and running around with the kids, we aren't always aware that they may be overheating.
Veterinarian Dr. Joe Spoo says it's easy to forgot just how hot it is because we can sweat to cool off, and they can't.
"Our dogs unfortunately don't have a great system for cooling down," says Spoo, "as the weather warms up and so they rely on panting which is a very inefficient system."
So as a dog runs around in the heat, their internal body temperature slowly rises and gets to a dangerous point that starts with heat stress, progresses to heat exhaustion, then heat stroke and even death.
It's important to be careful of when and where you take them out because black pavement absorbs a lot of heat and then radiates it. It can be infinitely hotter down where your dog is compared to where you are at, standing upright.
The best time to go for a walk with your dog, according to Lucas County Canine Care and Control, is earlier in the morning, since it gets hotter as the day goes on.
You should also take into account what type of dog is in your family because some breeds like Boxers, Pugs, Shih Tzus and others with short muzzles have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.
"Those guys have a very inefficient respiratory tract and they have trouble breathing just normally in room air," says Spoo, "if you add heat and humidity to that, those dogs can get into trouble really really fast."
Here's some things you can do to protect your family pet: limit exercise on hot and humid days, keep them hydrated and able to reach shade, let them cool off inside during hot temperatures, and consider buying one of those plastic kiddie pools so they can stay cool and have an easy water source available.