Submitted By Lisa Norwood
Summer is here and we’re beginning to see temperatures climbing towards triple digits. With that in mind, local pet owners need to think twice before taking their pets to the lake or even on an errand or two. Our South Texas heat can put your pet at risk for overheating because dogs cool their bodies by panting which is much less effective than sweating. It’s best to leave your pet at home during hot weather, but if you do want your pet to come along, you must bear in mind:
- Fresh water and shelter should always be available.
- Pets most at risk from overheating include: young, elderly or overweight pets, those with a short muzzle or those with thick or dark colored coats.
- Mind your pets around water-most pets are not natural swimmers and any pet can easily tire and drown.
- Shade offers little to no protection on a sunny day and cracking the window “a little bit” does very little to reduce the temperature inside a parked car. It takes only 10 minutes for the interior of a car to reach 102 degrees on an average 85 degree day and in 30 minutes, that temperature can reach 120 degrees or more.
- Symptoms of heat stress include excessive thirst, heavy panting, glazed eyes, vomiting, restlessness, lethargy, fever, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, profuse drooling or salivating and unconsciousness.
- If an animal does show signs of heat stress, gradually lower their body temperature and get them to a vet immediately.
If you see a pet locked in a hot car, take action immediately. Jot down the car’s description (including a license plate number) and go into a nearby store to have the owner paged. If you don’t get a response, call Animal Care Services or the Police Department immediately. Per city ordinance, both Animal Care Officers and the police have the right to break a car’s window if an animal is endangered inside that vehicle. Violations of the City’s law governing animals left in vehicles could face animal cruelty charges if their pet sustains injury or death as a result of their actions.