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If you don’t have a cool cat during Southern California’s searing heat wave, you could have a fatal feline.

Record temperatures could also mean you have a dead doggy.

Those are the warnings from local animal control officials worried about the devastating impact on pets that intense heat can bring.

Animals respond differently than humans to heat, animal control officials said. Dogs and cats do not sweat, so they must exert more energy to keep cool by panting. Extra care should be taken with short-nosed pets that may have a harder time breathing.

Pet owners should watch for signs of heatstroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.

If heatstroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal’s head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to the veterinarian to be checked.

Other tips from city and county animal-control officials include:

— making sure the pet has fresh drinking water that is served in a large container, instead of a shallow bowl, to allow the water to remain cold longer;

— giving your dog ice cubes to eat or adding them to the water bowl;

— not leaving pets by themselves in cars, and keeping pets at home if necessary;

— avoid burning dogs’ paws by keeping them off of hot pavement or concrete during walks, and if necessary, walk them early or later in the day when it is cooler; and

— taking extra car to provide shade to pets with lighter coats, because they are more likely to be sunburned.

—City News Service

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