MILAN, Illinois — With the forecast including temperatures in the 90s this upcoming weekend, staff at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center are reminding pet owners of ways to keep their four-legged friends safe in the heat.
Those high temperatures can be dangerous for pets when spending time outside.
Stacey Teager is the community services director at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan. She said there are some simple steps pet owners can take to prevent pets from overheating.
First, Teager suggests keeping a lot of cold water out for your pets if they spend a significant amount of time outside. But, better yet, it's best to simply keep pets inside on really hot days, she said.
"Your dog, it's like you wearing a fur coat and being out in the heat," said Teager. "Their paw pads, it's like you being bare foot on scorching blacktop. So you need to think, take it a step further and think about those things."
Teager also talked about the danger of pets in cars.
It only takes about 10 to 20 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise 20 to 30 degrees. Those temperatures can be extremely high as the temperature increases.
Cracking windows does not help reduce the heat inside a car, Teager said, so the best thing to do is keep your pets at home when temperatures increase.
"I'll also see where people will like put water in the car for their dog, like a little bowl of water," said Teager. "You are taking the chance of your dog getting seriously ill or even dying from heat exhaustion."
Teager also talked about a seven-second test to see if the pavement is too hot for your pet. That test involves holding your bare hand on the pavement's surface for about 7 seconds. If it is too hot for you, it is likely too hot for your pet.
If it is too hot, it is best to find another time to take your pet for a walk or spend time outside. Better times include early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not as strong.
Teager said it is also important for pet owners to look out for signs of heat stroke in their pets. Those symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, unsteadiness, collapsing and vomiting. If you notice your pet has any of those symptoms, Teager said you should contact your veterinarian right away.