How to keep pets and family safe in a heat wave

ROCKFORD, IIl. (WIFR) - It's important to find ways to keep yourself and pets cool as temperatures push 100 degrees and several businesses and city buildings are opening their doors to provide the public some cold water and time in the air conditioning.

"So with it being so hot and with the heat index going up so quickly, heatstroke and health things can come up so easily,” Said Crystal Savage, Rockford Rescue Mission.

Savage encourages community members to stop by the Rescue Mission to cool off.

"Whether somebody needs a place to stay or cool down or just a meal because it's too hot to cook in the kitchen, we have all the resources here,” Savage said.

While people and services dogs are welcomed at the cooling centers, house pets are not.

"Leave your pets at home,” said Donna Apgar, Winnebago County Animal Services.

And if you don't have air condition at home Apgar has some helpful suggestions.

"You can take a towel and get it soaking wet in cool water and lay it on a tile floor. If you have a kiddie pool, fill it up and let them splash around," Apgar said.

But, Apgar wants to remind you that you should ease your animal into cold water.

"You don't want to cool them down quickly with cold water because that can shock their system. So you want to slowly cool them down by doing things like taking a cool wet washcloth and kind of wet them down," Apgar said.

And although all those techniques help, Apgar and Savage agree. The best way to avoid heat is to find an air-conditioned place, which is why cooling centers are located all over town.

"The need is definitely going up and we just love our community so much for helping support us and meet that need," Savage said.

To make sure your dog still gets their exercise you can head over to a store like Pet Smart, Blain’s Farm and Fleet or the Canine Crunchery, to take an air-conditioned walk.