PIMA COUNTY– Southern Arizona will be dealing with an Excessive Heat Wave this week. Pima Animal Care Center encourages community members and pet owners to take extra precautions to keep their pets safe and cool.
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“If it’s too hot for you, then it is too hot for your pet,” said Kristen Hassen, Director of Animal Services. “Every year, pets perish because they didn’t have access to shade, water and fresh air. This is entirely preventable.”
Every year, PACC’s Animal Protection Service (APS) officers respond to hundreds of calls involving pets suffering from heat-related illness and death because they were left outdoors, in a vehicle, or in another situation that put them at risk. In most cases, these situations can be avoided by following these easy tips:
Keep pets indoors: there’s no better place to avoid the heat.
Keep them hydrated: provide clean, cool drinking water in an easily accessible, spill-proof container.
Provide shade: Ensure your pet has all-day access to a shaded spot with good air flow. For dogs with longer coats, even shaded spots can be too hot during 100 degree plus temps.
Protect their paws: walk your pet in the early morning or in the evening when the asphalt has cooled down and won’t burn their paws. Place the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads.
Don’t leave them inside a car: even with the windows cracked, the interior temperature can become deadly within just a couple of minutes.
Signs of heat-related illness: lethargic, won’t eat high value treats like chicken, excessive panting or difficult breathing, excessive drooling, bright red gums, rapid pulse, muscle tremors, dry nose, nausea, and vomiting. Overweight, geriatric, and short-nosed breeds such as pugs and Persian cats are more prone to overheating and owners should not leave outside unattended in the summer.
When it comes to strays, APS officers will be prioritizing heat calls during this heat wave. If you see a pet suffering in the heat, please call 724-5900 and press 4. Dogs and cats that live outdoors are usually acclimated to our seasonally high temperatures. If you see a stray dog hunkered down in the shade and are worried about heat stress, watch for a stumbling gait, squinty eyes & retracted ears, and look for a long and flattened tongue. You can also check for the signs listed in the bullets above.
If you find a stray that is not in distress and is friendly and healthy, please hold the pet if you can to give the owner time to locate their lost pet. Due to the impacts of COVID, PACC is asking finders to hold healthy, friendly found pets whenever possible. You can file a found report by calling 520-724-PACC (7222). The shelter is still taking in 20-45 emergency cases every day.
“Some people don’t know this but most found pets go missing in their own neighborhoods or just a few streets away from their home,” Hassen said. “By keeping the stray in the area where it was found, you are increasing its chances of making it back home. We are truly grateful for the hundreds of people who have been able to help us with this!”
PACC has changed their day-to-day operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. People must now have an appointment in order to come to the shelter. To make an appointment, read up on the current procedure at pima.gov/animalcare and on the PACC social media accounts to stay on top of the ever-changing situation.
For information about local impacts of coronavirus on humans and guidance for keeping yourself and others healthy, please follow the dedicated page on the Pima County Health Department website: www.pima.gov/covid19.