Special to GUIDON
With 70-plus degree days finally a norm in our forecast, pet owners should keep in mind the Humane Society of Missouri’s life-saving motto this spring and summer: 70 degrees and over, don’t take Rover.
To report an animal in heat-related jeopardy, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314.647.4400.
Here are the Humane Society of Missouri’s tips to keep pets safe, happy and healthy on warm, sunny days:
— Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is near or above 70 degrees. In a matter of minutes, the temperature inside a car can surpass 100 degrees, regardless of whether a window is cracked, or the car is parked in shade.
— Act immediately if you see a distressed animal in an unattended car. A pet showing signs of distress such as heavy panting, unresponsive behavior, seizure or collapse needs immediate attention.
— Apply cool water to your pet’s extremities if they show signs of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include excessive panting, vomiting and lethargic behavior. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you notice these symptoms.
— Make sure outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Secure plastic water bowls, never metal, to the ground so your pet can’t accidentally tip them over. Metal bowls can get extremely hot if left out in the sun.
— Provide your pet with shady spots outdoors. Make sure your pet is protected from the heat and sun at all times during the day. If you leave your pet outdoors for an extended period of time, check to make sure there are shaded areas beforehand.
— Take frequent water breaks if walking or jogging with your dog. Asphalt and concrete heat up quickly. If you can’t keep your hand on the pavement for 10 seconds, it is too hot for a dog’s paws. Consider going for a walk in the early morning or after the sun sets when it is cooler outside.
— Do not bicycle or rollerblade with a pet. The temptation during nicer weather can be there, but pets do not know any better and will do everything they can to keep up with you. Heat stroke and possible death can occur very quickly in these circumstances, particularly in hot weather.
— Supervise pets around a pool or large body of water. Not all pets are strong swimmers; gradually introduce your pet to water and make sure they wear floatation devices when on a boat.
— Groom your pet regularly. A pet’s coat is designed by nature to keep them cool during the summer. Consider taking your pet to a groomer for a trim or regularly brush their fur to remove any excess hair. Do not shave your pet without first consulting a veterinarian, as this may result in overexposure to the sun and cause sunburn or other serious side effects.
For more information on how to care for pets during warm weather months, visit hsmo.org/hotweather.