How to keep animals safe amid Utah heatwave

Utah Heat

This photo provided by Ben & Jerry’s shows Ben & Jerry’s dog treats. The venerable Vermont ice cream company said Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, it’s introducing a line of frozen dog treats, its first foray into the lucrative pet food market. The treats, sold in 4-ounce cups, will arrive in U.S. groceries and pet stores later this month.
(Ben & Jerry’s via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the state continues to battle waves of record-breaking heat, community leaders are reminding citizens how to keep animals safe.

Just a couple of days ago, on July 8, a Salt Lake City resident discovered a wild bird stuck in their ceiling air vent.

When days reach high temperatures, animals are known to seek refuge in various places. If you ever encounter an animal that is wild or not your own, suffering from heatstroke or dehydration, it is best to issue a call to animal control.

“The summer months can be uncomfortable—even dangerous—for pets and people. It’s difficult enough simply to cope with rising temperatures, let alone thick humidity, but things really get tough in areas that are hit with the double blow of intense heat and storm-caused power outages, sometimes with tragic results,” shares the Humane Society.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s most effective animal protection organization.

According to the team, as Utah continues to see warmer and warmer days, it is essential to know the steps to take when in the company of any animal outside.

Practice basic summer safety

Common sense for most, however, the Humane Society continues to remind citizens to never leave animals alone in a parked car.

“Never leave your pets in a parked car. Not even for a minute! Not even with the car running and the air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels,” they share.

According to the Society, on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car 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 or die. Learn how to help a pet left inside a hot car by taking action or calling for help,” they add.

If you didn’t know already, animals also respond differently to heat. The Humane Society states that even turning the fan on will not help your pet cool down.

“Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet, and fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people,” they advise.

Be keen on the humidity and air quality

The team states it is crucial to pay close attention to how the humidity and air quality is.

“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature, but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

According to the Humane Society, one way to combat a possible incident is taking your dog’s temperature. Dogs’ temperatures should not reach over 104 degrees, officials say.

If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions below for treating heatstroke as recommended by the group.

  • Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest
  • Run cool (not cold) water over them.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Take them directly to a veterinarian.

Limit exercise on hot days

As the Beehive State continues to experience high heat, officials ask owners to limit exercise.

“Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating,” the Humane Society emphasizes.

Gather the bare necessities

According to the Humane Society, since using a fan to cool down your pet is not an option, it is wise to gather the supplies needed that will actually supplement your hound during the heat.

The Human Society states that is crucial to provide ample shade and a ton of water.

“Any time your pet is outside, make sure they have protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct airflow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse,” they add.

Hacks to consider

When it comes to keeping your pet safe, it may feel overwhelming on where to start.

Here are some hacks provided to consider when battling the heat with your furry friend by the Society.

  • If you plan on spending a long period of time outside with your pet is to freeze their collar beforehand and have them wear it when you go outside.
  • Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY pupsicles for dogs. And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.
  • Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat. Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days.
  • If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if they enjoy a cooling soak.

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