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June 13, 2017

Six ways to protect your dog from the heat

Philadelphia has been hit with a brutal heat wave, resulting in potentially record-breaking temperatures and schools closing early.

Much how like parents and teachers should look out for kids in extreme weather, Philly residents should also take proper care of their dogs.

In response to the oppressive heat, the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia is reminding owners of six easy ways to protect their pets:

1. Don't leave your dog in a parked car — ever: Repeat: Never do this. Cracking the window or parking in the shade won't protect your dog from rising temperatures and subsequent heatstroke, organ failure and even death. If you see a dog locked in a car, call the police, the Pennsylvania SPCA at 1-866-601-SPCA or ACCT Philly at 267-385-3800.

2. Look for signs of heatstroke: Difficulty breathing, excessive drooling and elevated body temperature are all potential signs of heatstroke. A full list of symptoms can be found here. If you believe your dog has heatstroke, call your vet or an emergency clinic and run cool to mid-temperature — not cold — water over your dog's body in the meantime.

3. Give them water and shade: Make sure your dog has access to cool, clean water to prevent dehydration, and keep your pet in the shade if outside. Note: It's illegal to keep your dog outside during a Code Red (excessive heat).

4. Short walks: Keep outside time limited. Avoid long walks and extended games of catch. If you're looking for ways to keep your dog active indoors, you can find a bunch of ideas here.

5. The right haircut: Check with a groomer or research online the shortest appropriate length for your dog's hair. As ACCT Philly notes, some breeds of huskies have hair that actually protects them from the sun and shouldn't be completely shaved.

6. No black asphalt: Heat-trapping asphalt can burn your dog's paws. If you're taking the pet outside, stick to natural surfaces like grass and woodchips.