SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Pet owners have special considerations this weekend when it comes to keeping their pets healthy as extreme heat makes a return for the first time this year.

With high temps hitting us early in the season, many dogs have not had time to acclimate, so this warm weather can be hazardous. Temperatures are expected to hit the 90s this weekend and the heat index even higher, it’s important for dog owners to be aware of the potentially fatal effects of the heat.

22News asked veterinarian Dr. Jackie Celmer at Second Chance Animal Hospital in Springfield for warning signs that your pet is having trouble with the heat.

“Any signs of excessive panting, collapsing while trying to get up would be signs of heat exhaustion. You really want to keep them indoors as much as possible this weekend. You also want to avoid walking them on the pavement or taking them on a car ride because cars are going to be excessively hot as well as pavement temperatures are going to be increased.” Dr. Jackie Celmer

Dr. Jackie also suggested providing a fan and having lots of cool water available, even some ice cubs for snacks. Pet owners of dogs with short noses like pugs and bulldogs have to be especially careful as those breeds are prone to overheating.

Dog owners at a dog park in Agawam are already making plans for their pets because of the heat. “Because he’s very active, we have to take him out for long walks at night and early in the morning. We’re pretty much going to keep him inside in the AC.” Christina Redden

Dr. Jackie stated that if your dog is lethargic, you should contact your vet and get your dog in some cool water.