Officials from Washoe County’s Regional Animal Services are encouraging pet owners to keep their animals out of parked cars on hot summer days.
On an 85-degree Fahrenheit day the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes.
After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke.
Animals, more so than humans, are susceptible to overheating and they are much less efficient at cooling themselves than people are. Dogs, for example, are designed to conserve heat. Their sweat glands, which exist on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, young pets, seniors or pets with weight, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible to heat-related stress.
In case of an emergency, it`s important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. Check the animal for signs of heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.
If the animal shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps to gradually lower the body temperature immediately. Follow these tips, and it could save your pet`s life:
Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or immerse her in cool (not cold) water.
Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
Take her directly to a veterinarian.
Washoe County Code 55.190 Endangering Animals states “It is unlawful for any person to hold or confine an animal in a car, truck, trailer, box or crate when the temperature and surrounding environment may cause the animal unnecessary suffering or death.” For more information or to report animal abuse, contact Washoe County’s Regional Animal Services at 775-353-8900.