One wag told us today that it is so hot in Louisville that the fire hydrants were whistling at dogs. But our record-setting heat is a serious matter; particularly when it comes to the safety of our pets. With no immediate relief in sight, Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) is offering tips for pet owners to help keep their pets safe from the region’s first scorching heat-wave.
“Pets overheat much quicker than humans,” said LMAS Director Justin Scally. “It is the responsibility of pet owners to keep not only themselves safe during this heat-wave, but also their beloved furry companions.”
Pet owners can help keep their pets’ safe by following some of these simple steps:
Look for warning signs:
* Symptoms of overheating in pets include:
-Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
-Increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling
-Mild weakness, stupor or even collapse.
-They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
-Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
-Animals suffering from heat related illnesses should immediately be seen by a licensed veterinarian for emergency medical treatment.
Chilling in the Shade:
* Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. Make sure your pets have a shady place and shelter to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.
* Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, which could lead to fatal heat stroke. Leaving pets in parked vehicles during extreme temperatures isn’t only deadly - but it’s illegal!
* When the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Your pooch's body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn when they are exposed to the blazing cement or asphalt. Keep walks during these times to a minimum or do them early in the day or late in the evening when the temperatures are more bearable.
Looking Good/Feeling Cool:
* Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. As far as skin care, be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
Pets are not permitted at the City’s public cooling stations. However, they are permitted at Metro Park’s spraygrounds and spraypads provided that they are on a leash, licensed and are properly restrained by their owners.
LMAS staff is working hard to keep the animals cool. With no air-conditioning in many of the kennel areas at the Manslick Road facility, staff is taking precautions to keep the pets temporarily housed at the shelter safe and comfortable. Nevertheless, nothing beats being inside a nice and cool new home instead of in a shelter. In an effort to help, LMAS is offering a “Feeling the Heat” Adoption Special. All dogs six months and over are $85 and cats are $9 with an approved application. Kittens are $35.
If you see an animal that is not properly taken care of during the extreme heat, immediately notify Metro Animal Services (363-6609) or Metro Police if it is a life/death emergency at 911. It is important to keep both our four and two-legged friends safe during this extreme heat wave!