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Heat Danger: Tips For Keeping Your Pet Cool, Safe As Heat Wave Grips Philadelphia Region

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A heat wave is in full effect in Philadelphia and many are taking precautions to make sure they stay cool and don't experience any heat-related illnesses. We want to make sure that you are also taking the right steps to ensure your pets are safe and stay cool during dangerous heat.

It's no secret that dogs like to enjoy the outdoors, but on hot days, when temperatures are nearing 100 degrees, it can be extremely dangerous for them.

"We try to keep her indoors as much as possible because the heat gets to her," Philadelphia resident Julia Clark said.

Julia and her dog Sandy have the right idea, staying cool in air conditioning at the newly opened Emancipet on Roosevelt Blvd.

"I have not yet seen any type of heat stroke or any here," Dr. Caroline Catona, with Emancipet said.

Veterinarian Dr. Caroline Catona says pets who are outside for prolonged periods in hot temperatures can get dehydrated and can even have heat stroke.

"Usually what you would see would be the dog either collapsing, panting heavily, a very high temperature anywhere from 104 to 106. The first thing you want to do is wet them down, not with freezing cold water but with cool water," Catona said.

The Pennsylvania SPCA shared some tips for pet owners during summer weather.

First and foremost, they say your pets should never be left in a parked car. The temperatures inside the vehicle can rapidly rise, even if you leave the windows cracked, causing pets to suffer irreversible damage or even fatal heatstroke.

Be sure to keep walks short during days with excessive heat. It is also good to plan your walks ensuring you are walking in the morning before the sun becomes the hottest or in the evening when it sets and temperatures begin to cool down.

The pavement and asphalt get extremely hot. PSPCA Public Relations Director Gillian Kocher says it's important to keep your dogs on the grass, avoiding pavement as much as possible.

"On excessively hot days, keep walks short, just take pups out to do their business and then right back in. No running or long walks," Kocher said.

Pets get dehydrated quickly, make sure you are giving them plenty of fresh, clean water to stay hydrated.

Some signs pet owners can watch for are excessive panting or difficulty breathing, abnormal gum and tongue color, and drooling. Not only are these signs your dog is uncomfortable, but also of a heat stroke.

Vets say dogs are especially vulnerable in the heat.

"The biggest issue we run into is they just can't sweat like us humans can to relieve all of that extra heat, so we see dogs even with temperatures cooler than what it is now having issues of heat exhaustion and heat stroke," Veterinarian Dr. Alexandra Chaney said.

There are some specific breeds and health conditions owners should keep in mind.

If you own an animal with a flat face, like pugs and french bulldogs, they are more susceptible to heatstroke because they cannot pant as effectively as other breeds.

"These pets, along with elderly, overweight, and dogs with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible," Kocher said.

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