SPCA: When the heat is up, leave the pooch at home

With triple-degree heat in the forecast through Thursday, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles today appealed to residents to leave their pets indoors.

Daytime highs on Thursday could hit 107 degrees in Glendale, 105 in Pasadena, according to the National Weather Service. At those temperatures, even a quick trip to a store can cause serious medical problems, or even death, for pets or small children, officials say.

Temperatures inside a parked car can soar to 160 degrees, hot enough to cause heat stroke or brain damage, according to the SPCA. The issue is compounded by the fact that the body temperatures of dogs and cats run a few degrees higher than their human counterparts, the society warned.

And dogs with flat faces, that are obese or that sport heavy coats face are even more susceptible to overheating.

Leaving pets unattended in a parked car, even for a short time, is also illegal.

In an announcement from the SPCA-LA issued today, President Madeline Bernstein said people should just leave their pets home.

"If you love your pets, leave them at home," she said.

The society urged the public to report animals that may be overheating in a locked vehicle by calling (800) 540-SPCA (7722) or local police immediately.

The following were tips from the society on keeping pets cool and safe amid extreme heat:

    -- Keep plenty of clean, cool drinking water available at all times for your pet, including when traveling. If your pets are left alone during the day, ensure that their bowl is tip-proof.
    --Keep your pet at home. Never leave your pet in a parked car, not even for a minute.
    -- Protect your pet from the sun. If your pet must stay in the yard (instead of the cool indoors which is recommended) be sure there is adequate shade and ventilation, in addition to water.
    -- Keep pets groomed.  To help your pet stay cool, clip coats short, but not shaved. Sunburn is a danger to animals, especially light-colored animals. Apply regular sun block to vulnerable areas such as the ears and nose.
    -- Dog pads burn easily, so avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt on hot days. Exercise pets in the morning or evening when it is cooler. After hiking, make sure to check for fox tails and other burns, as these can cause major problems.
    -- If a pet is overcome by heat (detected by excessive panting, heavily salivating, and/or immobility) immerse him or her slowly in cool water to lower body temperature, and then go to a veterinarian. Never immerse a pet in ice cold water, as it may cause shock.

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