Petrarca reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe during hot weather

VANDERGRIFT, July 1 – With summer officially here, it’s important that pet owners take proper precautions to keep their furry friends safe.

State Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said when the temperatures and humidity begin to rise, it can also adversely affect our pets, especially if they don’t have adequate shelter or water while they’re outside.

“Many of us know to not leave our pets alone in a parked vehicle, but unfortunately, we still hear of pets who are neglected and left outdoors who end up becoming ill or worse,” Petrarca said. “If we’re uncomfortable during the hot, humid days of summer, imagine what it’s like for your pet – that’s why it’s so important to follow these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe.”

Petrarca, who has supported several efforts to protect pets in Pennsylvania, including Libre’s Law, recommends these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe during the summer:

  • Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle, even for a minute or even with the air conditioner running. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach over 100 degrees within 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, temperatures can rise to 120 degrees, which can cause your pet to suffer irreversible organ damage or die.
  • Watch the humidity – if humidity is too high, it’s more difficult for your pet to cool themselves through panting, and their body temperature could quickly skyrocket to dangerous levels.
  • Ensure your pet has plenty of water while outside and add ice to your pet’s water when possible. Tree shade or tarps are best to protect your pet from the heat, verses a doghouse or other type of enclosure, because they are less likely to obstruct air flow.
  • Limit exercising with your pet on hot, humid days, and adjust the intensity and duration of your workouts. For example, on very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke in your pet: heavy panting, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, fever, dizziness, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue. Animals who are very young, very old, are overweight or who have heart or respiratory disease are most at risk for heat stroke.

Petrarca added that if you witness a pet alone in a vehicle on a hot, humid day, contact law enforcement immediately. The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act allows police and humane officers to remove unattended pets from vehicles that they believe are in imminent danger.