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

HARRISBURG, June 10 – As the official start of summer approaches, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca is urging all Pennsylvanians to take steps to keep pets safe during hot, humid weather.

Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, who has supported efforts to protect pets in Pennsylvania, including Libre’s Law, said it’s important for people to practice basic summer safety tips when the temperatures – and humidity – start to rise.

“We know how uncomfortable those hot, summer days can be for us, but imagine what it’s like for your pet,” Petrarca said. “While most of us know to never leave pets alone in a parked car, too often we still hear of cases where this happens, or we hear about pets who are left to fend for themselves without adequate shade or water while outside. These timely reminders could potentially save a pet’s life.”

Petrarca recommends these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe during the summer:

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car, even for a minute or even with the air conditioner running in your vehicle. 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 easily skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.

  • 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 said people who witness a pet alone in a vehicle on a hot, humid day, should contact law enforcement immediately. The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, signed into law in 2018, allows police and humane officers to remove from vehicles unattended pets who they believe are in imminent danger.