Cook County Animal and Rabies Control Issues Pet Safety Tips in Advance of Weekend’s Extreme Heat

July 17, 2020

Cook County Animal and Rabies Control urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect the health and welfare of their pets during anticipated extreme heat this weekend. The department offers tips for pet owners to keep in mind:

Do not leave your pet in a hot car: Even with the windows rolled down, studies have shown that the temperature inside the car can increase 15 degrees above the outside temperature. The law requires that any time the ambient temperature is above 78 degrees, you cannot leave your dog in a car.

Keep your pets cool when outside: All dogs should be provided with cool water and shade, and monitored when outside. Short-coated animals and animals with white or tan fur are susceptible to sunburn, especially on their noses. 

Consider a haircut: If your dog has a thick coat, consider a haircut for summer. One inch is a good length to keep your dog comfortable while avoiding sunburn.

Take care of your dog’s paws: Remember that asphalt and sidewalks are hotter than grass, and dogs’ paw pads are highly sensitive to heat. Whenever possible, walk your dog on grass, dirt or gravel, and avoid asphalt and concrete during a heat wave.

Keep inside temperatures cool: Make sure your indoor pets have water and are comfortable when in the home. And don’t be alarmed if you see your cat sleeping somewhere odd, like the bathtub or the closet. Cats look for the coolest spot in the home.

Ensure window screens are secure: Before opening any windows in your home this summer, make sure there is a screen installed. Keep windows without screens closed and ensure adjustable screens are tightly secured.  Cats are curious by nature and an open window without a screen could pose as a safety risk.

Signs of heat stroke: Know the warning signs of heat stroke especially if your pet has been exposed to hot weather for a substantial amount of time. Symptoms include fatigue, excessive panting, disorientation, lethargy, discomfort, seizures and collapse. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek veterinary help immediately.

If you see an animal in distress, call your local police department for assistance.