With temperatures increasing, Eugene Animal Services is urging people to not leave their pets unattended inside a vehicle, even for a just few minutes. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, easily causing an animal to experience heat stroke or brain damage, even with windows slightly open and the vehicle parked under shade. It is important to note animals do not have to experience distress or heat stroke for a person to be cited for animal neglect. Under 4.340 of Eugene Code, minimum care requires an animal have access to water and not be confined in an area where air temperature is not suitable. To help investigate cases of animal neglect, the animal welfare officers and police officers are all equipped with digital thermometers.
Heatstroke symptoms can include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting, and lack of coordination. If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, consult your veterinarian right away.
If you notice an animal in distress or unresponsive in a parked car, call 911. If an animal is not in distress and it is quicker to locate the owner you may consider that in addition to calling for help.
Please take additional precautions to keep your pets safe at home or when traveling.
· Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water.
· Keep pets inside during the heat of the day; do not leave them outside unattended.
· Dogs should not ride in uncovered pickup truck beds. The hot metal truck bed can burn your pet’s paw pads.
· When pets are outside, be sure to provide shaded areas for them to rest in and invest in a misting hose or kiddie pool for a cool place for your pets to play.
· Limit or skip on exercise and time at the dog park during the heat of the day.
· Always test the pavement or sand with your hand before setting out (too hot to touch is too hot for your pet), walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots. If you suspect your pet’s paws have been burned, contact your vet immediately.