As we prepared to kick off the summer this last Memorial Day weekend, the Mesquite Animal Shelter would like to remind everyone to keep their pets safe during the warm months ahead.

Many people feel that it is safe to take their pet along for a short trip to the store, post office, or some other quick ride in the car.  This occurs even though everyone knows that the inside of a car on a hot summer’s day can be lethal.

Dogs and cats only perspire around their paws, which is not enough to cool the body. To rid themselves of excess heat, animals pant.  This way to control body heat is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when the animal is confined to close quarters. Overweight animals have extra layers of fat that act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities. Older pets may have health problems while very young animal’s temperature regulation system is not fully developed.

A car can become a death trap even on a mild sunny day with temperatures skyrocketing after just a few minutes. Cracking the car window doesn’t do the job in providing relief in this heat.  Never leave your pets inside the car, if they cannot come with you when you get out of the car, leave them at home. In many states, it’s against the law to leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle in a manner than endangers the health or safety of the animal.

Leaving an animal outdoors without shelter is just as dangerous as leaving them inside the car. Be sure they are not left in a cage in the hot sun, on a chain in the backyard, or outdoors in a run without sufficient shade and air ventilation.

Additional safety tips for pets this summer:

Make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water 24- hours a day.

Outside pets need shaded and well-ventilated area.

Provide exercise early in the morning or late in the evening during the coolest part of the day. Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days.

Remember that asphalt can get hot enough to burn your pet’s paws. Walk your pet on the grass or dirt where it is cooler.

Keep pets off lawns that have been chemically treated or fertilized for 24 hours or to time specified on the package instructions.

All animals should have proper identification tags at all times.

Never leave your animal unattended in direct sunlight.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Even with treatment, heatstroke can be fatal to the animal. The best cure is prevention.

Signs of heatstroke:

  • Heavy panting
  • Staring or glazed eyes,
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness, anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • High fever
  • Profuse salivation
  • Vomiting
  • A deep red or purple tongue
  • Collapse or unconsciousness.

Follow these tips, and it could save a life:

  • Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
  • Lower the animal’s body temperature by applying ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck, and chest or immerse the animal in cool (not cold) water.
  • Let him/her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  • Take him/her directly to a veterinarian.

Keeping your pets safe in the heat is a primary concern during the summer months.

Have a wonderful summer.