Keeping pets cool during the hot summer heat

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COLUMBIA - The Humane Society of Missouri wants to make sure pet owners are keeping their pets safe during the hot summer months.

The Humane Society of Missouri said pet owner's should never leave a pet in an unattended car when the temperature is above 70 degrees. They also said pet owners should keep pets inside if possible and if not, make sure they have access to continuous shade and fresh water. 

Eric Stann, the Community Relations Specialist for the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, said Columbia Animal Control has had 68 calls so far this year related to pets left in cars in bad weather conditions. Last year, Columbia Animal Control had a total of 158 calls. 

“It’s better for the dog to be inside in the air conditioning, but if they are left outside, making sure they have a shady spot to lay down and plenty of fresh water throughout the day,” Stann said. 

Stann said when Columbia Animal Control finds an animal in a hot car, they’re typically looking for whether or not the animal is panting or breathing rapidly. 

“Also looking maybe if the tongue is out but a lot of it depends on the type of the animal because it may be breathing very lightly but yet we may not be able to see that through the fur,” Stann said. “So there are a lot of different variables that our animal control officers look for.” 

Stann said the temperature in a car that’s turned off can raise almost 20 degrees in a matter of ten minutes. If you absolutely have to leave your pet in the car, Stann suggests having a spare set of car keys, leaving the air conditioning on for your pet and locking the car.

He also said it’s good to limit your pet’s exercise on hot day and also check the pavement to make sure it’s not too hot when you take your pet out for a walk. 

“You can dig a hole in the ground with the bucket of water in it and that’ll help keep the temperature down or adding ice to the pet’s water,” Stann said.  

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian Cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke. They also advise pet owners to not leave pets unsupervised around a pool, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt and know the symptoms of overheating in pets. 

According to ASPCA's website, symptoms can include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit. 

For more hot weather safety tips, visit ASPCA's website.