Keeping Pets Safe On Hot Summer Days
Before sweltering summer temperatures set in, animal advocacy groups are cautioning Utah residents about the dangers that heat poses for pets. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 58 animal deaths were related to hot weather in 2018, and Moira Colley, press outreach manager PETA, notes that those are just the ones that were reported.
She says many people believe if they just pop into a store, their dog will be fine, but she encourages anyone who sees a pet left in a hot vehicle to talk to the owner, and if necessary, call the police.
"If residents see a dog left in a hot car, don't leave the scene until the situation has been resolved, and always take down the car's make, model and license plate and have the owner paged inside the store," she urges.
Even if there's water and windows are cracked, Colley says temperatures can rise so quickly that animals can die from heat stroke.
On a 78 degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100 degrees in just minutes. Heat stroke can be fatal, and symptoms in a pet include restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy and poor appetite or coordination.
Because they don't sweat like humans, Colley says dogs and other pets have a more difficult time staying cool.
"Naturally, people want to spend as much time with their animal as possible," she states. "But the safest place for them to be is at home, inside, with water."
Colley adds that in hot weather, it's also important to be mindful about walking a dog.
"Always test the pavement with your hand before setting out," she advises. "Their paws can be just as sensitive as human feet. If you can't comfortably touch the surface for 10 seconds, then it's too hot for your dog."
Colley suggests walking in the grass, choosing shady routes, or heading out in the early morning or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.