With the weather predicted to hit 90 degrees this week, the Seattle Animal Shelter reminds pet owners to exercise good judgment and use common sense when it comes to protecting their pets from the summer heat.
“Each summer, the animal shelter receives hundreds of calls about pets locked in cars on hot summer days,” says Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan. “Many pet owners are unaware that cars left in direct sunlight turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes. Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death. Dogs must cool themselves through panting and their systems can’t handle high temperatures.”
If you must travel with your pet, Jordan advises carrying water for your pet, and avoiding trips where you have to leave the pet in the car. “It’s not worth the risk,” he says.
Jordan offers the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:
- Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area where the animal can retreat to, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
If you must leave animals indoors, open the windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
- Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked car. Temperatures can exceed 130 degrees in a matter of minutes. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves through their lungs by panting. Hot air can lead to brain damage or death. Also, be aware that vinyl seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevents them from perspiring through their paws. Remember, with the movement of the sun, a vehicle originally parked in the shade may soon be in direct sunlight.
- Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
- Take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon.
- Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.
Pet owners can be held criminally liable for committing cruelty to animals if a pet dies, or is found suffering from heat prostration. If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance or if you have questions, contact Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-PETS.