Expert gives pet owners tips on how to protect pets from the Valley heat

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The dog days of summer are fast approaching and they are bringing the heat earlier than expected. (KFSN)

The dog days of summer are fast approaching and they are bringing the heat earlier than expected.

"This time of year we get lulled into a sense of safety-- thinking, 'oh, its nice weather, we just had rain,'" said Dr. Chris Dobbins, Fresno Pet ER.

With temperatures flirting with the triple-digit mark, it is important to protect our four legged friends.

"This time of year it's not uncommon to have people come home at 5 O' clock and find their animals dead because they left them out in the heat," said Dr. Dobbins.

Dr. Dobbins said prevention is key and it does not stop at making sure there is access to shade and water at all times-- a number of household items can help protect your pet.

"Mister systems-- these are little cheap ones you can get, hook up to your hose, that'll drop 10 to 15 to 20 degrees."

The most common mistake pet owners make is leaving them outside.

"If were above 90 degrees they do not need to be outside unless they have to and they're ranch dogs and you have no way of keeping them inside," said Dr. Dobbins.

We put a thermometer inside one of the vehicles in the parking lot. Outside the temperature was just shy of 90 degrees, but inside-- almost 40 degrees hotter.

Dr. Dobbins said heat exhaustion, even heat stroke, are common when temperatures heat up. Warning signs include excessive panting-- but the heat is even more dangerous for short nosed stalky breeds.

"Remember, dogs cannot sweat so they can't cool themselves by any other means than panting."

As for a common misconception when it comes to that summer coat Dr. Dobbins said, "Don't get mislead that shaving your dog down is going to make them cooler because you will actually make it worse. Not only are you removing insulation but now the sun is directly beating on their skin."

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