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SPCA: In this heat, keep an eye on furry friends

Howey, a one-year-old Terrier mix, keeps its cool

Howey, a one-year-old Terrier mix, keeps its cool at a one of the pools set by volunteers at City of Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care & Adoption Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (June 28, 2013) Credit: AP

If you think you and your family are sweltering on these hot and humid days, just imagine if you had to walk on all fours just inches from the ground -- while wearing a fur coat.

That's the lot of many companion animals who'll need special care in the coming days in what's expected to be a heat wave with temperatures in the 90s, but feeling even hotter than that, according to the Nassau and Suffolk chapters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"Fur-coated animals, such as your dog or cat, [fare] even worse than people in the heat," said a Monday release from the Nassau County SPCA. "In fact, without shade, your pet can overheat, become ill, or even die in a short time."

That can go, too, for outings in which animals are left in parked cars -- even with windows partially down -- for as few as 15 minutes, said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County SPCA, in a release. "Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke when trapped in these high temperatures," he said.

The release also advised making sure your pet has plenty of clean, fresh water, and plenty of shade when outdoors.

Other tips from Nassau County SPCA:

Dogs should get outdoor exercise in the morning or after dusk when the temperatures are lower;

Consider a misting hose or kiddie pool to help dogs cool off;

If you're running errands, best to leave your pet at home.

If you suspect an animal is in an emergency situation, Nassau SPCA advises you to alert the owner if possible, then call police, asking for "immediate police response" and then call 516-THE-SPCA.

If you spot an animal alone in a vehicle, take down the vehicle's make, color and license plate, so you can ask area stores to page the owner, said Suffolk SPCA. Then call police or SPCA at 631-382-SPCA.

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