Pet owners asked to take precautions during hot weather

With oppressive heat forecast for the weekend, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles today urged pet owners to take precautions to protect their critters.

Officials with the spcaLA said humans need to take preventative measures to protect their animal companions when the mercury rises as it is expected to do on Friday. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories from 11 a.m. Friday through 9 p.m. Sunday in L.A. County's coastal zone --- beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles, Downtown L.A. and the Hollywood Hills.

A more serious excessive heat warning will be in effect from 11 a.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Monday in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, the San Gabriel, Santa Monica and -- below 5,000 feet -- the Santa Ana mountains in Orange County, and from 11 a.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Antelope Valley.

Tips from spcaLA to help protect pets include:

--Providing plenty of clean, cool drinking water for animals;

--Keeping pets cool indoors or providing adequate shade outdoors;

--Maintaining a well-groomed pet with a short coat -- but not so short as to be prone to sunburn -- to help keep them cool;

--Don't walk animals on hot surfaces, such as asphalt, which can burn their paws;

--Check for fleas regularly;

--Exercise pets in the morning or evening when it is cooler;

--Prepare an emergency kit and plan in the event of a wildfire or other natural disaster;

--Familiarize yourself with pet CPR and first aid; and

--Never leave your pet in a parked car.

Officials with spcaLA warned that with hotter weather, families and their pets are outside more often, increasing the chances of a pet getting lost. They say it's critical to make sure pets always wear proper identification.