BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s officially summer which means the temperatures are on the rise.

On both the hot and cold days, it’s important to double-check your back seat for your furry friends. With the warmer temperatures, it only takes minutes for them to suffer from a heat stroke.

According to the SPCA Serving Erie County, leaving your pets in the sun, in a car, and/or without water can potentially lead to death, and it’s important to monitor a pet’s reaction to the heat.

“Animals will conceal those signs of suffering as long as they can,” said Chief Communications Officer SPCA Serving Erie County, Gina Lattuca. “Once the animal is becoming very lethargic and it seems to be for no apparent reason, Once that animal is excessively when the animal is vomiting for no apparent reason. You have to start paying attention to those signs.”

The SPCA urges pet owners to make sure their pet is only outside for short periods of time and has plenty of water and plenty of shade. If your pet is showing excessive heat stroke symptoms such as excessive panting and vomiting, the SPCA says to take them to the vet immediately before it’s too late.

Along with the warmer temperatures, the SPCA warns pet owners to leave their animals at home while they run errands, and while going to festivals that are specified for animals.

“It’s best to leave those animals at home,” Lattuca said. “Even on a day like today, it’s extremely windy, but a heat stroke is definitely a concern.”

SPCA warns that if your animal is seen in distress, you can be charged with a crime.

Just last week, the SPCA charged a woman in Cheektowaga for leaving her dog in a car at the Airport Plaza. It was 91 degrees that day, and when officers arrived, the dog was vomiting and had a temperature of 107. Thankfully, the dog survived, but the owner was charged with a misdemeanor.

Even taking your dog on a walk can become dangerous if it’s hot enough.

Dog owners who visit the Barkyard Downtown told News 4 that they’re taking precautions to help keep their pets safe.

“We have shoes,” said Jennie Scepenuk, the owner of 3-month-old puppy Ozzy. “We use toe wax, bean wax, and we always have fresh water on us.”

Another owner, Julia Dunlip, says she prefers to take her dog Scarelet Begonias on trips to the park during her breaks, but if it’s a hot day, they’ll only play on the grass. She says it’s important to understand what her dog needs.

“Just keeping her cool and listening to her and noticing her when she seems a little too hot,” said Dunlip. “If she’s panting, it’s time to go.”

The SPCA Serving Erie County encourages exactly that, to understand what exactly your dog can handle and to look for heat stroke signs.

Anyone who sees an animal in heat distress is encouraged to call 9-1-1 right away, and then call the SPCA of your county.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.