ST. GEORGE – With temperatures well into the 100s in Southern Utah, it’s important to be aware of a few hazards your pets face. Asphalt can burn paw pads, hot cars can kill and a shadeless yard can result in heatstroke.
Asphalt retains heat throughout the night, allowing it to reach extreme temperatures during the day. The rule of thumb is to avoid walking your dog between 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on any kind of asphalt or concrete, Ivins City animal control officer Aggie Smith said.
“The asphalt here by 2 o’clock, you could fry an egg on it,” Smith said. “Dogs can literally burn their pads off.”
In St. George, asphalt temperatures can reach upward of 180 degrees, Smith said.
Other hot surfaces to be aware of are sand, boat docks, anything metal and even leather seats in your car. If a surface is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.
Cars and truck beds
Just like children and, well, anyone, pets should never be left in a car in the summer. It takes 10 minutes for a car interior to heat up to 150 degrees, Smith said, even if it’s only 90 degrees outside.
“There is no reason that any dog this time of the summer should be in your car while you’re in shopping,” Smith said. “It doesn’t take long for a dog to die.”
The same goes for truck beds. While some may think that because their animal is in open air it will be able to cool itself down, in reality, most truck beds are made of metal.
“They still can’t cool themselves off,” Smith said, “the back of the truck is metal and it gets really hot.”
Backyards and water bowls
All-day shade is one of the most important things to make sure your backyard has for your pet.
“For the summer, any animal that is left outside should have adequate cover,” Smith said, “which means some place in the shade that they can get to all day.”
Metal water bowls should be kept in shade as direct sunlight can heat water to extremely high temperatures.
“I don’t know too many people in the summer who want to drink a hot glass of something,” Smith said. “Everybody wants something cool, including your dog.”
Smith said a good method of making sure pets have cold water throughout the day is freezing a jug of water and setting it in a water bowl. It will slowly condensate and keep the water cool.
Additionally, larger buckets of water will stay cooler than smaller bowls of water.
A dog’s only way of cooling itself off is to pant. Smaller, short nosed dog breeds like bulldogs and pugs have an even harder time cooling themselves down, Smith said.
If a dog goes into heat stroke, they should be treated the same way as a human – attempt to bring their body temperature down slowly, by offering them little bits of water and placing them in a lukewarm bath.
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