Keeping your pets safe during summer months

Tina and Rosey

Tina and Rosey

Keeping your pets safe and parked at home during the summer months could be the difference between life and death. Many of us love to take our dogs for a ride in our vehicles, even if it is just to do errands, and our dogs love to go.

Dogs don't understand the risk involved of being left in a hot vehicle, even it is only for a short period of time.

Unless you are going to a pet friendly location that will allow you to bring your dogs inside, it is best that they stay at home where they will be safe.

Many pet owners also don't realize that leaving an animal in a vehicle for even a couple minutes could be a fatal mistake on a hot day. Your short trip to the store could easily stretch to 15 minutes or more before you know it.

Even when it is warm, it can get dangerously hot in a vehicle. In that short time, the temperature inside the vehicle could reach 160 degrees.

Placing a sunshield or cracking the windows is still not adequate to protect your pet. The temperature is enough to cause your pet heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, permanent brain damage or even death.

When it's 72 degrees outside, it can rocket to 116 degrees, when it's 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can soar to 120 degrees in no time at all. Unlike humans, dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can't sweat like we can. They can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.

When it comes to dogs riding in the open bed of a pickup truck, it is important for pet owners not to take chances that could endanger their four-legged friends.

Keeping them secured all the time and cool in our harsh summer months is a must.

Ideas to keep your dogs from getting sun burned in addition to the conditions above, is to get cooling mats, beds, bandanas, vests, jackets and traveling bowls for water and ice cubes, as well as some form of shade.

To help a pet in distress from heat:

• Learn the signs of heat exhaustion - restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination.

• If the dog shows any of these symptoms, move them to shade or air conditioning right away.

• Apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest or immerse the animal in cool (not cold) water.

• Try to get them to drink cool water or lick ice cubes.

• Take them directly to a veterinarian.

If you see an animal parked in a vehicle, it is our responsibility to be an advocate for the animals who can't speak and do our best to save them from a terrible suffering because their owners are not keeping them safe and cool.

Here are some tips to take action:

• Write down a description of the pet, the car, and the license plate number. Ask businesses to announce over a PA system that the pet owner needs to return to the vehicle immediately.

• If the owner of the pet is not located or does not return to the vehicle, call your local police department or animal control. Provide the description of the pet, the car, and the license plate number and explain that there is a pet in a hot car. Police dispatch will send an animal control officer or local law enforcement to the location.

• Animal Control requests that you stay in the area to help them more easily identify the location of the animal. However, they ask that you refrain from engaging the owner. Often officers called out to help a distressed animal must first deal with altercations between pet owners and concerned citizens. For your own safety and that of the pet, report the situation, be available for locating the animal, and avoid confrontation with the pet's owner. Cancel the call if the person leaves before animal control can arrive.

We have flyers regarding keeping Pets Safe in the summer for business owners who would like to display them in their store windows. Red Rose Inspiration For Animals, in partnership with Sedona Paint Center, is running throughout July a public service announcement on Yavapai Broadcasting radio stations about keeping pets safe in the summer months.  We would like to continue broadcasting this imperative information and if you, as an individual or a business, would like to be a sponsor to help us do so, please contact us at 928-282-5278 or info@redroseinspiration.org.   

Red Rose Inspiration for Animals is an all-volunteer 501(c) 3 and 100 percent of any donations go directly into our campaigns and funds. We would be grateful for any support so we can continue to make a difference.

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