Summertime is one of the best seasons for pets and their people, whether you’re dining with them on the patio, taking them for a swim, or enjoying some time in the park. But hot temperatures can also pose a danger to dogs and cats, who can suffer serious consequences if proper precautions are not taken.
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Hot Car Safety
It takes only six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. Did you know that even when it’s 75 degrees outside it’s too hot to leave your dog or cat in your car? Temperatures can rise quickly in a vehicle and even leaving the window cracked or parking in a shaded area is not enough. Temperatures can rise within just a few minutes causing your companion to ultimately suffer heatstroke and death. Because dogs don’t sweat the hotter they get the more their body’s internal functions start to break-down. If their core temperature reaches over 107° (dogs) and 105° (cats) their circulation will fail leading to kidney failure,internal bleeding, and brain damage, so even if they are able to have the physical symptoms reversed the cognitive damage maybe irreparable.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
- Heavy panting
- Sweaty feet (cats)
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid pulse
- Lethargy or weakness
- Unsteadiness or staggering gait
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Bright red, gray, purple or bluish gums
- Deep red or purple tongue
Another risk to pets is hot pavement, which quickly absorbs heat and can easily climb to temperatures over 100 degrees. As a general rule, if pavement is too hot for you to comfortably walk barefoot or hold the back of your hand to it for more than a few seconds, it’s too hot for your pet, whose paw pads can quickly suffer painful and debilitating burns.
Fortunately, there are a few products that can help your pets stay safe from hot summer temperatures.
Products to keep your pet cool and safe from the sun all summer long
- Musher’s Secret
Otherwise known as invisible boots, Musher’s Secret is a 100 percent natural wax that creates a breathable barrier between pavement and paws. Originally developed in Canada to protect sled dogs from icy terrain, this product is now used year-round to keep pets safe from snow,ice, salt, and hot pavement. It also soothes and conditions dry and cracked pads.Apply a thin layer to paws before going outside; it will not come off and flooring and does not need to be removed after use.
2. Sport Pawks Dog Socks
Armed with rubber grips and available in a variety of colors, Sport Pawks by RC Pets provide both traction and protection for paws. In addition to protecting against hot pavement, these lil’ socks are also effective in helping dogs navigate cold and icy surfaces or older dogs maintain a better grip on hardwood floors.
3. PAWZ Rubber Dog Boots
These rubber dog boots, reminiscent of balloons, are disposable, reusable and waterproof. Free of zippers or straps, PAWZ go on easily and fit securely on your pet’s feet. They can also be used to protect against things like lawn chemicals, pesticides and allergens.
This stylish eyewear for your dogs not only provides protection from grit and other debris getting into their eyes, but also provides protection from those nasty UV rays. Doggles provide 100% UV protection, are anti-fog, and their polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof. Doggles also feature a flexible rubber frame, as well as adjustable head and chin straps. The eye cups are extra deep to keep the lenses from coming in contact with your dog’s eyes.
You can use cooling mats, cooling vests, sunshades, and portable fans to help keep your dog cool while they travel in the car. The Green Pet Shop Cool Pet Pad is available in sizes extra small through extra large and is pressure-activated so it begins cooling off your pet as soon as they take a seat. The pads contains a non-toxic gel designed to absorb body heat and reduce body temperature. Clip on portable fans typically used on baby strollers are also an excellent choice to help keep your pet cool while riding in the back seat of the car.
Just be sure to always keep an eye on your pet and make sure they are not showing any signs of distress.
Know the Law
Ohio has a Good Samaritan law (ORC 959.133)providing immunity from civil liability if you forcibly enter a motor vehicle to rescue an animal provided you do the following:
- Determines the vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the animal to exit the vehicle.
- Has a good faith belief that forcible entry into the vehicle is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm if not immediately removed from the vehicle and, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, the belief is a reasonable one.
- Has made a good faith effort to contact the local law enforcement agency, the fire department, or a 9-1-1 operator prior to forcibly entering the vehicle. If contact is not possible prior to forcibly entering the vehicle, the person shall make contact as soon as possible after forcibly entering the vehicle.
- Makes a good faith effort to place a notice on the vehicle’s windshield with the person’s contact information, the reason the entry was made, the location of the animal, and the fact that the authorities have been notified.
- Remains with the animal in a safe location until law enforcement or emergency responders arrive.
- Used not more force to enter the vehicle and remove the animal from the vehicle than was necessary under the circumstances.
Indiana law (I.C. 36-6-2-34.3) provides a degree of immunity in that you won’t be charged with criminal or civil liability for forcible entry provided you follow the steps below (you are, however, liable for one-half the damage caused by forcible entry unless liability is waived.)
- A domestic animal must be present in the enclosed space of the motor vehicle, and the person must reasonably believe that the domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily harm if the domestic animal remains in the motor vehicle.
- The person must determine that: (A) the motor vehicle is locked; and (B) forcible entry of the motor vehicle is necessary to remove the domestic animal from the motor vehicle.
- The person must call telephone number 911 or otherwise attempt to contact: (A) a law enforcement officer; (B) a firefighter; (C) an animal control officer; or (D) another emergency responder; before the person forcibly enters the motor vehicle.
- The person must use no more force than is reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the domestic animal from the motor vehicle.
- The person must remain with the domestic animal until a law enforcement officer,firefighter,animal control officer, or other emergency responder arrives at the scene.
There is no law in Kentucky, so if you see an animal enclosed in a hot car, call law enforcement immediately.
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