Clackamas County Dog Services Supervisor Diana Hallmark and her staff have plenty of experience keeping pets safe on hot days, and know how important it is to keep pets cool through the summer months.
“Dogs and cats don’t sweat like people do," Hallmark said. "They eliminate heat through their mouth (by panting) and the pads of their feet. Since they can overheat quickly, it’s important that the people who care for them make sure they can stay out of the heat.”
Parked cars are especially dangerous places to leave animals in the summer, according to Hallmark, even for a short time. According to the Humane Society of the United States, even with outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees a car's interior temperature can increase an average of 40 degrees within an hour.
“While some people think they are protecting their pet by leaving car windows open slightly,” Hallmark said, “that is not enough to ensure the temperature stays at a safe level. Leaving a pet in a parked car on a hot day can endanger the animal’s health in as little as 10 minutes.”
Clackamas County Dog Services has additional suggestions for keeping pets from overheating on hot days:
- Leave your pet at home during warm or hot weather
- Be sure your pet has continuous access to shade or a cool room, and to cool, potable drinking water
- Overexertion on a hot day may cause overheating. When the temperature rises, take your dog for relaxed walks early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Prevent sunburns by keeping your pet out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and rubbing sun block on unprotected areas such as skin around lips and tips of noses and ears, especially on fair-colored pets.
- Watch out for heatstroke – heavy panting, staring, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, collapse and disobedience. If heatstroke is suspected, call a veterinarian immediately and apply water-soaked towels to hairless areas of the animal’s body to lower its temperature.
- Never leave your pet in an unattended parked car or truck, with or without open windows.