Humane society encourages caution for pets during heat

This Fulton Sun file photo shows Kruger, owned by Kyra Tompkins and family, as he waits for a bath at a dog wash event Saturday, June 9, 2018, at the Fulton Dog Park.

With the excessive heat warning this week, the Humane Society of Missouri wants to remind pet owners to exercise caution to keep their pets safe.

Pet owners should refrain from leaving pets unattended in cars when the temperature is above 70 degrees.

Ella Frank, the director of the Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Cruelty Task Force, said the Humane Society has seen an increase in heat related calls over the past few weeks. Frank added "temperatures can heat up very quickly in a few minutes" in uncooled vehicles and temperatures above 110 degrees can become "fatal."

On days that the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, pets should be left indoors. Stops for water should be made frequently when taking pets on walks, and Frank recommends moving walks to the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.

Pets that are left outside for extended periods of time should have a shaded area all day. Leaving metal bowls outside is discouraged since they can become very hot if left out in the sun.

Frank said the Humane Society sees "a lot" of calls regarding outside dogs not having access to constant shade or cool water, and dogs who are older or have medical complications are more susceptible to heat exhaustion.

If a pet is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, pet owners should apply cool water and schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Signs of distress include heavy panting, unresponsiveness and seizing.

Frank also said a veterinarian should be contacted if there is a noticeable change in an animal's behavior.

To report distressed animals, Frank suggests calling local law enforcement.