How to keep pets safe in hot weather.

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The dog days of summer have arrived and with the hot weather comes a need to take a few  precautions to keep your pets safe. The Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Humane Society offer these tips:

Take it easy. Avoid overexerting animals in hot weather. Obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.

Provide clean, cool water. Change out the water in pet dishes to ensure it is cool. If your dog uses a water tower or large dish, consider adding a few ice chips. In addition to water, some birds may benefit from fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

Provide shade and a cool place to rest. Bird cages and pet beds should be moved away from direct sunlight. Never leave an animal chained or penned in direct sunlight.

Protect those paws. Try walking pets in the cool morning or late evening hours. Shaded and grass covered areas also are good options for walks. Hot sidewalks, pavements, black asphalt and sand can cause burns on a pet’s feet. Signs of trouble include limping or refusing to walk, darkening of foot pads, raw, red or blistered foot pads and licking or chewing on the feet.

Water play. Splashing around in a few inches of water kiddie pool can provide relief from the heat for some dogs. However, wet paws can be more sensitive to damage. Check your pets paws after playing.

If you must travel with a pet, carry water. Never leave pets unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures can exceed 130 degrees in minutes. The heat and hot air can lead to brain damage or death.

Signs of heat stroke include the following:

— Excessive panting
— Dark or bright red tongue and gums
— Staggering or stupor
— Seizures
— Bloody diarrhea
— Vomiting
— Body temperatures of 104-110 degrees

If a pet becomes overheated, apply cold towels to the animal’s head, neck, groin and chest. Contact a veterinarian immediately.

If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, contact Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-7387 or 911. A 2015 state law allows police officers to break into cars to remove a pet if the animal is likely to suffer harm from exposure to excessive heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of necessary water.

Dog owners also could face penalties in Washington state under a 2017 law if they tie up or “tether” their dogs in an inhumane way.