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Here's how to keep your pets safe during Pittsburgh's heat wave

How to keep your pets safe in extreme heat
How to keep your pets safe in extreme heat 03:20

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- This week's dangerously hot and humid conditions are a safety concern for pets as well as people with the heat index expected to reach above 100 degrees.  

Over at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, Beth and Elizabeth walked a dog named Mardolla outside, but only for a short time. The staff and volunteers only give the dogs and cats under 30 minutes outside because in this heat, more can be dangerous. 

"It can be extremely dangerous to have your pets outside," said Katie Vecchi, Animal Friends' director of behavior and wellness. "Just like with us, they can worry about things like heatstroke and dehydration. We recommend you do not have your animal out more than 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90."

According to Animal Friends, signs of heatstroke for dogs and cats include rapid or difficult breathing, abnormal gum color, bloody skin, gums and stool, disorientation, staggering and drooling. Animals may also experience seizures, comas or death.

When asked if animals can have heatstroke like humans, Vecchi said, "Absolutely, especially when we're talking about some of our dog friends that are what we call brachycephalic, so those are kind of the more smooshed-in faces, like bull dogs and pugs."

One other very important tip often overlooked is the importance of keeping your pet off the pavement. On a 90 degree day, pavement temperatures can reach 150 degrees, meaning your pet's paws could burn.

Pennsylvania does have laws protecting pets in this heat -- two actually.  The first is the Hot Car Law.  It is illegal to lock your pet in the car when its 85 degrees or more, and we're well above that.  The second is the tethering law.  This one says dogs must have access to water and shade outside and can't be tethered or tied up for more than 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90 degrees.

For a more complete list of ways to save your pets from this heat wave, you can visit Animal Friends' website

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