San Antonio Animal Care Services is urging residents to use the greatest of caution with pets outdoors during the summer heat.
Our South Texas heat can easily put your pet at risk for overheating because dogs cool their bodies by panting which is much less effective than sweating.
Of course, many residents keep their pets outdoors in the yard and some local pet owners don’t think twice before taking their pets to the lake or even on an errand or two.
The following are some tips to help pets beat the heat:
- Fresh water and shelter should always be available.
- Shade is not just a good idea for outdoor pets. It’s the law. As are access to fresh water and shelter beyond the all-day available shade. Chain tethers are not allowed.
- 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.
- A shaded parking spot 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 ten minutes for the interior of a car to reach 102 degrees on an average 85 degree day and in thirty minutes, that temperature can reach 120 degrees or more.
- It is illegal for dogs to ride unsecured in the back of trucks and these pets face the same heat stroke risks as pets locked in cars in addition to the threat of burned paws and accidental falls in transport.
- 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.
- Mind your pets around water--most pets are not natural swimmers and any pet can easily tire and drown.
If you see a pet locked in a hot car or in the back of a truck, 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.
Photo courtesy of Sgt.Gregory Brook