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Tails of Seattle: A pets blog

Your local source for news and tips about dogs, cats and other critters, featuring fun videos, reader photos, Q&As and more.

July 9, 2012 at 2:00 AM

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Cool tips for hot days

The dog days of summer have arrived. Here are a few tips to help beat the heat and keep birds, dogs, cats and other pets safe:

-- Provide shade and a cool place to rest. Bird cages and pet beds should be moved away from direct sunlight.

-- Provide plenty of cool water. If you use a water tower, you may be able to partially freeze some of the water or add a little ice. Keep water and food dishes out of direct sunlight.

-- At the beach or pool, don't assume a dog can swim or even wants to be in water to cool off. Also, be aware that dogs fetching balls and other objects can ingest enough water to make them sick.

-- Walk or play in the early morning or late evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day and don't overexert animals.

-- Don't leave a pet in a vehicle.

For more tips and information on how pets cope with hot days, click on these headlines from The Seattle Times' archive:

How to keep pets cool, safe during the heat of summer

Easy ways to keep your pet safe on hot days

Signs of heat stress or heat stroke

-- Excessive panting and drooling

-- Muscle cramping, twitching

-- Restlessness

-- Change in color of gums. Red gums signal early heat stress. White or blue gums are more serious.

-- Weakness, lethargy

-- Uncontrollable urination or defecation

-- Collapse

If a pet becomes overheated, apply cold towels or ice packs to the animal's head, neck, groin and chest. Contact a veterinarian immediately.

Sources: American Kennel Club, Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Humane Society

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