LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - With the weather heating up around South Georgia veterinarians want to make sure you're helping your pets beat the heat.
The high temperatures could mean trouble for your pets if you're not careful.
"When they come in and they're in full blown overheat they can have temperatures upwards of 108 degrees and sometimes the temperature is so high we can't even register it on our thermometers," explains Animal Health Center veterinarian Dr. Tad Moseley.
Pets left outside without proper care can suffer from heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can happen quickly and cause serious harm if pet owners aren't careful.
"So as the body heats up, everything heats up," Dr. Moseley explains, "liver, kidney, and all the internal organs. All those internal organs are sensitive to the heat."
Dr. Moseley urges pet owners to know the signs of heat exhaustion.
"Vomiting, extreme heavy panting after exercise, disorientation or dizziness after exercise," says Dr. Moseley.
He also says if your pet does stay outside make sure they are prepared for the hot weather.
"Make sure they have plenty of shade and plenty of water," urges Dr. Moseley, "Don't ever let them get without water because that helps them stay cool."
Not following those guidelines is not only harmful to your pet, there are some hefty consequences for owners. The county will issue anything from citations to fines and even jail time.
"This time of year if your dog suffers a heat illness or even death than the animal cruelty laws now start referring to things like jail time," explains Paige Dukes with Lowndes County public information.
It's an issue the county says it's taking very seriously to help keep furry family members safe.
"Animal services is really busy right now making sure all of our pets throughout our community have water if they're outside during the day," explains Dukes.
Dr. Moseley says to get your pet immediate care if they start showing signs of heat exhaustion.
If you notice a pet outside without water or shade in Lowndes County be sure to notify animal services at 229-671-2760.