Roswell Animal Services Supervisor Joseph Pacheco wanted to remind people to consider the health and safety of their pets. “We are getting a lot of phone calls for welfare checks on dogs that have been left inside cars at Walmart, Kmart, Target and even the courthouse.”
He urged people to leave their dogs at home. “We really do live in a desert. I can understand if it’s a long trip, but if you live here, why take your animals out in the heat?”
Pacheco recommends if it is absolutely necessary to bring an animal when running errands to leave the windows cracked, carry water in the car for the animal and limit any store visits to less than 15 minutes. If possible, park in the shade, but better still, leave the dog at home. Studies indicate that even with the windows cracked on a 70- to 80-degree day, a car can heat up to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees within minutes.
Dogs get rid of heat by panting. Dogs with thick double-coats have a harder time beating the heat. Owners may want to consider getting fur clipped on long-haired dogs and those breeds which are better suited to a cold environment, like Siberian huskies and Saint Bernards.
Pug-nosed dogs like bulldogs, pugs and boxers, have smaller airways, and therefore have less of an ability to expel hot air.
Even at home, shelter is not only required by city ordinance. It is the humane thing to do. The shelter should have ventilation, otherwise it becomes an oven. Last week, Animal Services received a call reporting that a Chihuahua was locked in an unventilated shed.
Make sure the dog has shade and plenty of water. “I have a big German shepherd and I keep a wading pool for him.”
Dogs are much more susceptible to heatstroke than humans. The symptoms of heatstroke include, panting, unresponsive behavior such as the refusal to obey commands, and warm-dry skin. It can progress to rapid heartbeat, vomiting and eventual collapse.
For those who keep their dogs outdoors, precautions are required. Make sure there is adequate shelter from sun and midday heat. Outdoor kennels should be well-ventilated. Dog houses, too, should be ventilated and if possible pulled into the shade. Always provide plenty of fresh water in a bowl that cannot be tipped over.
If heat stroke is suspected, contact a vet immediately and attempt to lower body temperature with wet cloths, until treatment can be provided.