Protect your pets: Humane Society urges residents to care for animals in heat wave

SAN DIEGO — The weekend will be miserably hot in many parts of the county,

SAN DIEGO — The weekend will be miserably hot in many parts of the county, and the San Diego Humane Society is urging residents to keep a close eye on their furry friends.

The group released a list of 10 tips for keeping your pets cool and safe:

  1. Always provide plenty of cool, clean water for your animal. When away from home, carry a thermos with fresh water.
  2. Leave your pets at home as much as possible. While you may think that they will be lonely, they will be much more comfortable in your cool home than riding in a hot car.
  3. If you must take your pet along for the ride, don’t leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside your car can quickly climb to 120 degrees.
  4. In extremely hot weather, don’t leave your dog standing on the street, and keep walks to a minimum. Your canine companion is much closer to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. His paws can also burn on hot asphalt or concrete. If you’re going to be on hot pavement, consider bringing along a towel or blanket for your dog to rest on, giving his pads a break from the sweltering heat of the pavement. Be sure to allow for plenty of breaks and find shady spots to cool off.
  5. Don’t force your animal to exercise in hot, humid weather. Exercise your pet in the cool of the early morning or evening. Never run your dog next to a bike during the heat. In addition to the hot air, the hot pavement increases the risk for heat stroke.
  6. Dogs can get sunburned too — don’t forget to protect hairless and light-coated dogs with sunscreen.
  7. Always provide plenty of shade for an animal staying outside the house. Bring your pet inside during the heat of the day and let them rest in a cool part of your house. If you take your dog to the beach or park, make sure you can provide a shaded spot for resting.
  8. A clean coat can help to prevent summer skin problems, so keep your pet well groomed.
  9. Take your companion animal to the veterinarian for a summer checkup. Have the doctor recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
  10. Be alert for the signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red tongue. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, contact your veterinarian right away — it could save your pet’s life.

An excessive heat warning will be in effect in the western valleys, the mountains and the deserts from 10 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Monday. Another excessive heat warning for coastal areas will run from 10 a.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Monday.

High temperatures Friday are forecast to reach 81 degrees near the coast, 91 inland, 95 in the western valleys, 104 near the foothills, 102 in the mountains and 117 in the deserts.

The NWS urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Also, children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the NWS.

The mercury in the deserts is expected to reach 119 on Sunday and 122 on Monday, forecasters said. Highs in the western valleys could soar to 116 on Saturday and 114 on Sunday, while high temperatures near the foothills will remain in the triple digits through Monday.

To help the public beat the heat, the county is offering nine cooling centers throughout the region, though only service animals are allowed. A full list of locations can be found here. All locations will be open from noon to 5 p.m. throughout Labor Day weekend.

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