Animal Care and Control: Heat stress and protecting your pets

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FLORENCE, AZ – The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Pinal County through Sunday.  While you’re taking steps to keep yourself and your family cool and comfortable, Pinal County Animal Care & Control is reminding you to keep your pets safe, too.

  Dehydration and heat stroke are very real concerns for cats and dogs.  Heat affects dogs and cats in a variety of ways.  Dogs don’t sweat through pores on their skin like humans do.  They keep cool primarily by panting.  Both dogs and cats also perspire through their paws but only to a small degree.  Cats will attempt to keep cool by panting or by sprawling out on a shady or cool spot. 

• Keep your pets indoors.

• Do not walk your dogs on hot pavement.  If it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for your pets’ paws.

• Pets can get sunburned, just like humans and their ears and noses can be especially harmed.  Keep them out of the sun and provide ample shade when they are outside.

• Contact with metal can result in burns – limit contact with chain link fences or fence posts and remove metal collars or chains.  Metal food and water dishes should be used indoors only during the hottest months of the year.

• Provide ample supplies of cool water.

• Skip the car rides on hot days.  If you have car trouble or undue delays, not only do you have to worry about keeping yourself hydrated and comfortable, you have your pets to worry about also.

  “Heat stroke can come on very quickly and some of the worst things you can do is ignore it, douse the animal with the hose or plunge it into cool water.  This can send a distressed animal into shock,” Animal Control Director Kaye Dickson said.  “It is better to provide steady supply of ice chunks and gently pat the animal down with a cool damp towel.  Blood vessels are concentrated in the armpit, groin area and belly so these are places that a cool damp towel can be especially effective in lowering the body temperature.”

  Older animals, dogs with short snouts and animals with thick coats are more susceptible to heat stress.  If a distressed pet does not show signs of recovery from heat exposure, a trip to the vet is highly recommended.

  Dickson said that the peak time for strays and runaway pets is around the 4th of July because the ‘fight or flight’ impulse kicks in for many pets that get startled by fireworks, thunder or sudden loud noises.

  While Animal Care and Control does not have jurisdiction over horses and livestock, Dickson urges people to provide ample shade and fresh water for all animals.

  Pinal County Animal Care and Control has many adoptable animals in search of good homes.  If you find or lose an animal, please check http://1.usa.gov/13hNkd0.  The website www.petharbor.com is where Animal Control features pictures and descriptions of the dogs and cats in the shelter. 

 Pinal County Animal Care & Control is located at 1150 South Eleven Mile Corner Road.  Normal office hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays and from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturdays.  The shelter will be closed on July 4 but Animal Control officers will be on patrol.

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