HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The staff at the Huntsville Animal Services are doing what they can to ensure their four-legged companions still get some play time outside – while also keeping them safe in the extreme heat.

The goal is that each dog gets some daily outside exposure, but with the high temperatures, Director of Huntsville Animal Services Dr. Karen Sheppard says they have to keep a close eye on the dogs.

“We watch them if they’re panting excessively, they’re going to come in whether its thirty seconds or three minutes,” she said. “We have large pools with water clean water and that’s helpful because they will get in but when they’re laying down panting they’ve got to come in.”

And much like humans, the risk of overheating is similar for man’s best friend.

“It tends to be the younger animals or the older animals or animals with other health conditions,” Dr. Sheppard said. “And before they know it they’re in respiratory distress just from overheating.”

In the summertime, Sheppard said that they actually tend to see more dogs brought into the shelter.

“In the longer days in the summer, we take in more animals dogs it’s fairly consistent the entire year but it’s about 20% more July, August, September,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard also said for pet owners at home, if you are going to let your dog outside: make sure they have plenty of shade from trees, and maybe something like a tarp as well, to keep them away from that direct sunlight.