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Late last night I returned to the relative (actually, absolute) comfort of San Francisco’s climate after four days in St. Louis. The gateway to the west is a great town. However, when I was in the midwest I was struck by how miserably hot and humid it was.

Of course, today I checked the news and discovered that St. Louis, like most of America, is in the throes of an unprecedented heat and humidity wave. Heat waves are dangerous things.

Several years ago, many thousands of French people died during a heat wave in Europe. When heat waves strike anywhere, people are at danger. So are their pets.

Extreme heat disproportionately affects elderly, ill (especially animals with any sort of breathing issue), and overweight animals. However, any animal can suffer heat stroke if he engages in exertion during heat to which he is not accustomed. So, until the temperature and humidity (high humidity drastically interferes with animals’ cooling mechanisms) return to normal it will be best to keep your cat indoors and to avoid fetch or jogging with your dogs.

Brachycephalic (snub nosed) breeds such as Persians, Himalayans, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzus and Bulldogs should be monitored especially carefully. Animals with breathing issues or kidney problems should be monitored carefully. Keep the A/C turned on, and while outside stick to the shade while avoiding peak heat hours.

Finally, make sure plenty of water is available at all times. And remember that ice cream makes a great treat on especially hot days (for humans).

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