How to keep pets safe during triple-digit temperatures this summer

SAN ANTONIO – The triple-digit heat is not great for our four-legged friends, as the sun and heat can be deadly to pets. The Animal Defense League of Texas is reminding owners about heat-related issues for pets and how to keep them extra safe when temperatures rise.

“If it’s too hot for us, it’s probably too hot for your pet,” said Nadia De La Garza with ADL.

De La Garza said to ensure pets have shade and water at all times if they are outdoors, and pet owners watch for signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration.

“You’re going to notice some wheezing, some panting, dry nose, dry eyes or sunken-in eyes. That’s another thing, but mostly you’re going to see them panting a lot,” De La Garza said.

Other signs of pet heat exhaustion are reddened gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and pets that wobble when walking.

According to the ADL, some pets — such as younger pets, seniors, and animals with heart issues and other medical conditions — are more prone to heatstroke and dehydration.

If you take your pets for a walk, De La Garza said to go before the sun rises or after it goes down, or let them play in the grass. Temperatures on sidewalks and asphalt can reach 125 degrees.

“A good test for asphalt is just putting your hands down for a few seconds on the ground. And if it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for their paws,” De La Garza said.

It’s important to know which breeds struggle more in the heat. Dogs with shorter snouts, such as French bulldogs or pugs, do not breathe as well as other dogs. Breeds with thicker coats also get heated faster.

It is illegal in Texas to chain up a pet.

Leaving them in a hot car can also be deadly.

“Within seven to 10 minutes, it gets about 20 degrees hotter inside a car,” said De La Garza. “Leaving the dog in there, even with the window cracked, is not going to help.”

Anyone who sees a pet inside a hot car is asked to call 311 or report it to Animal Care Services.

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