With heat indices expected to top 100° this week in North Iowa, the Humane Society of North Iowa would like to share some tips on how to keep our furry friends safe and cool in the heat.
As temperatures rise, animals will pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes away heat from the body. But in high humidity, they are unable to cool themselves with this method and body temperatures can increase to dangerous levels quickly and can cause major harm to the animal and even death.
Here are some tips on keeping pets safe and cool in extreme heat:
- Keep pets indoors during extreme heat and limit outdoor exercise. Limit walks to early morning or evening hours when temps are cooler. Walk your dog on grass if possible, as concrete and asphalt can become hot enough to burn your pet’s paws. Carry water for your dog while on walks to keep them from dehydrating.
- Provide ample shade and water to outdoor pets. If you have pets that live outside, make sure they have shade to protect them from the sun and plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Never leave pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car, (even with the windows opened slightly), can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage and can even die if exposed to these extreme temperatures.
If you see a pet in a hot car, here are some tips to help the animal:
- Check to see if the car is running. Sometimes people running errands with their pet will leave the car running and air conditioner on. Before you take action, double check to see if this is the case.
- Take down the car’s make, model, and license plate. If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.
- Call law enforcement officials. If the owner can’t be found, call your local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. The state of Iowa does not grant legal permission to concerned citizens to break and enter a vehicle to save a distressed animal. If the dog is in imminent danger and help has not yet arrived, you’ll have to use your own judgment, considering the possible legal ramifications of breaking and entering to save the dog.
The Humane Society of North Iowa wants to makes sure all animals are kept safe in extreme heat. State of Iowa law requires that domestic animals have adequate shelter and access to food and water. If you have concerns for an animal, please call local law enforcement for help.