Don't forget pets in excessive heat

Take steps to protect them with shade, water

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Published: Jul 16 2013 08:16:41 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 16 2013 08:18:25 AM EDT
pets, dog, cat, rabbit, puppy, bird

Pet owners should remember to protect their animal companions during the heat wave.

Heat stroke can be fatal for pets as well as humans.

Never leave your pets in a parked car- not even for a minute--not even with the car running and the air conditioning on.

On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels.

On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. Humidity levels of just 50 percent create a heat index of 124 degrees.

If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police, and ask nearby businesses to make an announcement for the owner to return to the car.

Shade and water are a must. Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water.

In heat waves, add ice to the water whenever possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they allow air flow; doghouses make it worse.

Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise according to the temperature.

On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and remember asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. Walk your dog on the grass if possible.

Recognize the signs of heat stroke. When in doubt, contact your vet immediately.

Some signs of heat stroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.

If you fear your pet may be suffering heatstroke, following these tips could save her life: