UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — With temperatures approaching record levels, local animal shelter staff say there are a couple of steps pet owners need to take to keep their animals safe.

Kevin King, director of the Unicoi County Animal Shelter, said pets really should be kept inside amid the heatwave.

“But if you’re not going to let them inside, they need to have access to shade, a way to cool off, you need to make sure they have water,” King said.

On Wednesday, at Johnson City’s Robinson Animal Hospital, Dr. Andrew Pisacano said he had not seen any heat stroke cases over the past few days thankfully, but they do happen.

“Their temperatures can go up to 108 I’ve seen, and they can die from that,” Pisacano said.

He also said short-faced dogs like pugs and English bulldogs are especially prone to overheating. Panting and exhaustion are the first signs.

“Moving air, lots of water, keep in the shade if you’re outside, those are some of the common sense things that are going to help them make it through the heat wave,” Pisacano said.

King told News Channel 11 that animal shelter staff often get called out to animals chained outdoors without water, but there isn’t much they can do about it.

“Right now, there’s no laws about it, there’s nothing that says anything about temperature. You really need to talk to your politicians, we really need to change the laws,” King said.

With temperatures reaching into the 90s, heat index values have ranged from 100 to 105 degrees in recent days.