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You may want sun and surf in the summer but your pets want shade and water. Without shade and water, dogs, cats and other pets can overheat, become ill and die within a short time.

Summer is when pets have the greatest risk of injury and heat-related health problems. Here are some tips to keep them cool.

Do watch for signs of heatstroke. Signs include: rapid panting, lots of drooling, hot skin, twitching muscles, vomiting and a dazed look. Act quickly to cool down your pet - wrap it in a towel soaked with cool (not cold) water, or place it in a bathtub with cool water, or pour cool water over the pet. You can also put ice packs on the animalís head. Consult your veterinarian if your pet has heatstroke.

Do provide plenty of fresh water. Dogs can only sweat by panting or through the pads of their feet. Water loss from the wet surfaces of their mouth and nose by panting helps lower their body temperature. Pets need fresh water at home and outdoors, so take water with you for your pet.

Do watch out for hot pavement and beaches. Sensitive paws burn easily.

Do watch out for sunburn. Water, sand and rock at the beach reflect sunlight - your pet could get sunburn. Short hair pets and those with pink skin or white hair are most likely to burn. Control your petís exposure to sun - limit the time and provide shade.

Do find a cool spot. Keep air circulating indoors for pets - use a fan or air conditioning. Provide shade outdoors for pets. A gentle sprinkle from a garden hose is also helpful to keep them cool.

Do watch how much pets eat and exercise. Overeating during hot weather can lead to overheating, so let your pets eat less. Also avoid exercise or vigorous activity during the hottest part of the day.

Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even with the window open slightly or parked in the shade, when the temperature outside reaches 30 degrees centigrade the temperature inside a car can reach 50 degrees in minutes. This is extremely dangerous to your pet. Although your pet may want to come with you, it is much kinder to leave it at home with plenty of fresh cool water and shade.

For more information call Toronto Animal Services at
416-338-PAWS (416-338-7297)

This valuable information is provided by the City of Toronto website, for complete and upto-date info, please visit:

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