Summer heat dangerous for pets

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner
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August 9, 2006

These hot, dog days of summer aren't just hard on us. Your pets can also suffer in the excruciating summer heat.

Animal Control units all over Georgia-Carolina are responding to daily calls to save animals trapped inside hot cars.

News 12 spent the day with North Augusta Animal Control to see just how dangerous the heat is for our pets.

It's a common scene: a dog inside a car waiting on its owner. But Mike Strauss with north Augusta Animal Control says it can be deadly.

"A lot of the public is not educated on how quickly temperatures can rise and fall and what effect it can have on animals," Strauss says.

Luckily for the canine we saw, he was inside an air-conditioned truck. Strauss checked the temperature from outside with a laser device: 87 degrees.

"But a lot of owners don't want to leave the car running for fear it will be stolen," Strauss says.

So how about leaving the windows down?

"With its windows down, it's 120 degrees," says Strauss. "And 133 degrees is what we're talking about with the windows rolled up. Even a human couldn't stand that temperature for very long."

How about the back of a pickup truck? At least the animal is outside, right?

"It's 145 degrees in the back of the truck. It's like a frying pan for dogs."

And Strauss says we must be careful letting dogs play outdoors at all during these dog days of summer.

"The pads of their feet are very sensitive. It's up to 120 degrees at times on the [road] surface, but when you move it over to the concrete surface, it automatically reduces close to twenty degrees," he says. "And when you go to grass it even goes to a less temperature."

It only takes moments for heat to become deadly to animals.

"When you're stopping, it only takes a minute for some breeds to succumb to the heat, so use your time wisely."

Strauss says it's best not to bring your pet along, but if you do, make sure it gets plenty of water and check for dehydration.

"The dog's elasticity has a lot to do with how you can tell if its dehydrated or not."

To check, pull the skin up, and it should bounce back right away. If it doesn't, your dog is in trouble.

Excessive panting is also a sign it's time for animal first aid.

Strauss says to pour water over the dog's head and use a sponge to keep him wet.

"You can also put a blanket over him and pour water on that to keep him cooled down."

They're easy tips to save our favorite friends from the summer heat.

Dog breeds that are most at risk in the heat are short nosed dogs such as pugs or English and American bulldogs, as well as dogs not made for heat such as Saint Bernards or Huskies.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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