Animal welfare official offers summer pet safety tips

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s getting warmer and if you’re feeling it, so is your pet. Even temperatures in the 80s and 90s make a space like your car very hot.

Lt. Erin McKay works with Animal Protection Services and often sees pets alone in cars during the summer heat.

“It is very common. We get those cars a lot in the summer. Sometimes, we’ll get multiple every single day,” Lt. McKay said.

A car in the sun or event in the shade can heat up quickly. Temperatures can reach dangerous levels, even with the windows down.

“In just a few minutes, it can be over 100° in the car. So, if the animals are left in the car unattended, they can risk getting heat stroke. They can even possibly die if they are left their for too long,” Lt. McKay explained.

If you leave your pet in the car on a hot day, you put them at a high risk of dying. Police can also hit you with a $500 fine and 90 days in jail for doing that.

You also want to be careful when you’re walking your pet. Concrete and sand can heat up very fast.

“They can get burns on their paw pads. You need to be careful of that so if you can walk them on a grassy area that would be better, and just be mindful,” Lt. McKay said.

If you’re not too sure how hot the ground is, just take the back of your hand and check. If it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your pet.

Pets do need sunlight but it’s important to keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not overheating.

“If there’s excessive panting, sometimes they will lose their coordination. They’ll be salivating, sometimes they’ll be really anxious. Sometimes they’ll start vomiting. Obviously, if you suspect that your dog has heat stroke, you should get them to a vet immediately,” Lt. McKay explained.

If you can, try to walk your pets in the early morning or later in the evening. Keep them hydrated and leave their dog houses in the shade. If you can, keep them inside until the evening.