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May 31, 2011
Keep pets safe during periods of extreme heat
As Toronto experiences its first wave of summer-like weather, the City of Toronto's Animal Services is reminding all residents of the dangers high temperatures pose to pets.

Animals can overheat quickly, resulting in illness or death, and with the mercury forecast to reach 30 degrees Celsius - and the humidex expected to hit 38 - please review these quick facts to help pets stay safe in hot weather:
- Never leave a pet unattended in hot weather, including inside vehicles, on balconies or in unsheltered backyards.
- Know pet first aid. Summer means more outings, which can lead to injury, or heat-related illnesses. Educate yourself about what to do if an emergency arises.
- Keep pets hydrated during hot weather. Make sure pets always have access to fresh water whether at home or on daily walks and outings.
- Reduce food intake and limit vigorous exercise. Overeating can lead to overheating, as can too much exercise in hot weather. Feed your pet less and avoid exercise during the hottest hours of the day.
- If you see an animal in immediate distress due to hot weather, call 911.

When the temperature outside is a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach an unbearable 45 degrees within minutes. Each year, Toronto Animal Services responds to countless calls of dogs left in hot vehicles. That kind of heat is extremely dangerous to pets and places them at risk of heat-related illnesses that can quickly lead to death.

Studies show that leaving windows open slightly, or parking in the shade does not prevent temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. In hot weather, it's kinder and safer for pets to stay at home. If you have to take a pet with you, carry a spare key to help avoid accidentally trapping your pet in the locked vehicle.

Always watch for signs of heat stroke with your pet. Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that requires immediate intervention. It occurs when your pet's body temperature increases more quickly than it can cool itself. Untreated, it can lead to death. Signs of heat stroke include: excessive panting, drooling, muscle twitches, vomiting, and a dazed or disoriented appearance.

Act quickly to cool down your pet by moving him or her to a shaded area, pouring cool (not cold) water over your pet, and contacting a veterinarian immediately.
For more information about heat-related illness, call Toronto Animal Services at 416-338-PAWS (7297).

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Bruce Hawkins
Senior Communications Coordinator



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