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Heat Warnings: Keeping Your Dog Safe

HRA Senior Humane Law Enforcement Officer Dan D'Eramo joined NBC4's Sheena Parveen to discuss potential heat-related dangers to be aware of with your pet.

With high heat and humidity gripping the Mid –Atlantic region, the Humane Rescue Alliance has received numerous calls from concerned citizens about the welfare of animals in the heat. An unfortunately common problem: pets kept in cars.  Temperatures, even when pleasant outside, are dangerous inside a car.  An outside temperature of 72 degrees can result in temperatures inside a car of up to 116 degrees within an hour. At 80 degrees outside, a car can reach 99 degrees within 10 minutes. Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

Pet owners should also be aware of their pets when outside.  Plenty of shade and water are crucial when a pet is outside and time spent outdoors should be limited during extreme temperatures. Dogs and cats with flat faces (e.g. bulldogs, Persian cats) are more susceptible to heat related problems.

Tips to Keep your Pet Safe in Warm Weather

HRA’s Director of Behavior and Training Alexandra Dilley provides tips for pet owners when dealing with warm weather.

  • Keep your pets indoors when temperatures are extreme and in the shade when they are outdoors.
  • Walk your pets early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Give pets plenty of water to avoid dehydration. When you walk your pet or take your pet outside, carry water with you.
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Temperatures in cars can increase rapidly and become lethal.
  • Animals with short noses such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and Persian cats, struggle in the heat. Dogs and cats cool themselves by breathing through their mouths, but those with flat faces cannot cool as quickly and need extra attention.
  • If your pet is panting excessively, drooling, struggling to walk, is lethargic or has bloody diarrhea or vomiting, know that that these are potentially signs of overheating. 
  • Windows in the home that are open should have screens. Pets can fall out of open, unsecured windows.
  • Be careful with dogs on asphalt in the heat. Not only are their paws sensitive, but because their bodies are closer to the asphalt, they can overheat more easily.
  • As always, if you think your pet is in distress due to the heat, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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