According to the National Weather Service, July was the hottest month on record for many communities in Southern California. This coming week will most likely break records for the month of August. The Humane Society of Ventura County reminds pet owners about precautions to protect pets during the excessive heat.

“Veterinarians are inundated with cases of heat-related issues, and most are preventable,” said Greg Cooper, Director of Community Outreach with the Humane Society of Ventura County. “During these times of extreme heat events, we take every precaution to keep our Shelter animals safe and cool, as should pet owners.”
In times of extreme heat, Cooper said, “All dogs at our Shelter have the option of staying inside their kennels, where it is climate-controlled, and the kennels are hosed down with cool water at least twice a day.

“We also have volunteers who make dog treats called pup’sicles whenever it gets too hot,” Cooper added.

Here are useful tips from the HSVC to keep pets safe during the hot weather:

  • If you plan to go for a walk, it is important to first check the sidewalk to make sure it’s not too hot. Place your palm on the sidewalk, and if you’re unable to hold your hand there for at least seven seconds, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws. Consider going on walks early in the morning or later in the day to avoid extreme heat, or go to a shady dog-friendly area instead.
  • Do not leave dogs in any vehicle or in the bed of a truck for any amount of time. A closed vehicle can heat up well above 100 degrees and be lethal to your pet. The best way to reduce the risk of heat stroke in your pets is to leave them at home whenever possible. And make sure to always have fresh water available to them. 
  • Watch your dogs’ health. And remember, our brachycephalic (short-muzzled) pets have a hard time breathing at any time, and breathing in the heat can be even more challenging for them. Obese and elderly dogs and cats, as well as animals that have health issues or are on medication, may have additional troubles as well.
  • If you think your pet is suffering from the heat, you will need to contact your veterinarian immediately. Signs of heat stroke in your pets include restlessness, excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and immobility. As the situation progresses, the animal’s gums may turn brick red or even purple or blue. Suffering from heat-related illness is not only painful; it can be deadly.
  • If you see an animal in distress inside a parked car, call your local police and report it immediately.

HSVC Board Member Dr. Lee Baker, a licensed veterinarian with over 40 years experience, narrated a public service announcement about hot weather exposure to pets. The video can be found here: