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Arizona heat could mean death for unprotected pets

Here are some steps that pet owners should take to keep their furry friends safe.

PHOENIX — Editor's note: The above video is from 2019.

That extreme Arizona heat that we know all too well is officially here -- and it's going to stick around. 

The triple-digit temperatures could mean death for unprotected pets. Here are some steps that pet owners should take to keep their furry friends safe.

"As we get into these excessive heat warnings, the Arizona Humane Society is really encouraging pet owners if your pet are outdoor pets bring them indoors,” Bretta Nelson, spokeswoman with the Arizona Humane Society, said.

Nelson also warned pet owners that Phoenix has a hiking ban with dogs when temperatures reach 100 degrees or more.

"As a pet owner and lover myself,” she said, “I think even 100 degrees is a little too hot for that." 

This is because dogs' cooling systems are not the same as humans.   

"The only way pets can cool down is through panting,” she said. “They don't sweat like humans do. And when a pet can't pant quick enough to cool themselves down, that's when things turn deadly."

This means you should only take your dogs out early in the morning or late in the evening -- unless, of course, it is for fun in the water. 

But even then, Nelson said pet owners should track their pets' exertion closely. 

“Pets don't have voices, so they can't tell us when they're overheating," Nelson said.

If it is too hot for your palm to be on the pavement for seven seconds or more, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. 

And you may want to get a portable water bowl to make sure your four-legged friend stays hydrated.

A few signs of heat exhaustion include a red tongue, rapid panting and glazed eyes. 

If your pets are experiencing any these symptoms, call your vet, move them to a cool place, put a wet cloth on their bellies, ears, paws and necks and place a fan on them. 

“What you don't wanna do is force them to have water or plunge them into a really cold bath of water, because that's just going to lead to shock," Nelson said.

And remember, under no circumstances should your pets be left in cars.  

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