With Seattleites sweating through a record breaking heat wave, the Seattle Animal Shelter is reminding people to take proper precaution to keep their pets cool during the sweltering weather expected for the next two weeks.
Temperatures forecasted to reach the low 90s this weekend, so pet owners are encouraged to exercise good judgment and use common sense when it comes to protecting their pets from the heat.
Never leave your animal unattended in a vehicle, said Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan. Even on a 70-degree day, cars left in the sun can turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of more than 100 degrees within just a few minutes. And with the movement of the sun, cars originally left in the shade can soon be in direct sunlight.
“Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death. Dogs must cool themselves through panting and their systems can’t handle high temperatures,” Jordan said. “You may think your dog will be okay because you’ll only be a minute, but it’s just not worth the risk.”
Jordan also reminds pet owners that on July 24 a new Washington law will soon be in effect that makes it a violation just to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water. Penalties under the new law are in addition to potential animal cruelty charges.
Jordan offers the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:
· Never leave your animal tethered or kenneled in direct sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide access to plenty of cool water.
· If you leave animals indoors, open the screened windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
· NEVER leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked vehicle. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves by panting. Vinyl, leather and even cloth seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevent them from perspiring through their paws.
· If you must travel with your pet, carry water. If a trip requires you leave your pet in the car at any point, think about saving that for another day. It’s not worth the risk.
· Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387 (PETS).