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San Diego Humane Society offers pet safety tips for heat wave

Watch for signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red tongue.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — With an expected heat wave in San Diego County this week, the San Diego Humane Society on Sunday urged pet owners to take extra precautions.

An animal’s body temperature heats up much faster than humans so as the weather warms up, there are few things people should remember to keep their pets safe from the heat.

Our pets can be like extended family members and when the weather heats up, the San Diego Humane Society says pet owners should take the same precautions for their animals as they do for themselves.

“Just keep a close eye on how they’re acting. If they’re panting heavily, if they seem like they’re disoriented, if their tongues and their gums get really red, really fast, then they’re too hot and they need to go back inside in the shade,” said Nina Thompson, Communications Director for the San Diego Humane Society.  

The organization also says you should never leave your pet standing on the hot pavement and your pet should not be forced to exercise with you in the heat. You should also walk your dog in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler and never leave your pet in the car, not even with the windows down.

“If you feel like your dog is overheating, give them plenty of cool water and find a cool place for them to rest. You can put wet towels on their paws to cool them down. If you feel like it’s not working after a few minutes, maybe 15 minutes, contact your veterinarian right away because it can save their life,” Thompson said. 

The Human Society says all animals, including those in the wild and farm animals, are susceptible to the heat. Dogs can get sunburned too so hairless or light-coated dogs should wear sunscreen. Thompson says it’s natural to want to take your pet outdoors to enjoy the warm weather, but it’s not the best choice if you want to keep your pet safe.

“It’s generally best to leave your pet at home when it gets very hot outside. You may think it’s a good idea to bring them, but they will be more comfortable in a cool house than coming with you if it gets too hot,” Thompson said.  

Peta says last year, over 50 pets had to be rescued after being left in the heat or in a car and more than 30 animals died as a result. Those are only the cases that have been reported.

San Diego Human Society offered some of the following tips to keep pets cool in hot weather:

-- Provide plenty of water at all times, including when away from home.

-- Leave pets inside where it's cool at home as much as possible.

-- Do not leave a pet alone in a parked vehicle -- even with the windows open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside a car can quickly climb to 120 degrees.

-- In extremely hot weather, don't leave a dog standing on the street, and keep walks to a minimum, allowing for breaks in shady spots. Canine companions are much closer to the hot asphalt and a pet's body can heat up quickly. Paws can also burn on hot asphalt or concrete.

-- If pets will be on hot pavement, bring them a towel or blanket to rest on.

-- Don't force animals to exercise in hot, humid weather. Exercise in the cool of the early morning or evening.

-- Never run a dog next to a bike during the heat.

-- Dogs can get sunburned. Protect hairless and light-coated dogs with sunscreen.

-- Provide plenty of shade for an animal staying outside the house.

-- A clean coat can help to prevent summer skin problems, so keep pets well-groomed.

-- Take animals to the veterinarian for a summer checkup and have the doctor recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.

-- Watch for signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red tongue.

-- If you believe a pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, contact your veterinarian right away.

WATCH RELATED: News 8 Interview: Fire and safety tips during San Diego heatwave with Cal Fire Captain Frank LoCoco 


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