Tips to keep your pets safe during the Texas summer heat

It’s important to think about our furry friends when temperatures are high.

Suzie Chase, austin live pets Community Relations Officer said that dogs do not regulate internal body heat like humans.

Austin-Travis County EMS said that unlike humans, pets do not have sweat glands all over their bodies, only on their noses and paw pads.

It’s important to remember these three things when temperatures soar:

  • Take your pet outside before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

“Try to keep your pet in a shaded area and on grass,” Chase said.

“You can only hang out in Zilker Park for 10 minutes on a sunny day,” said Austin resident Harold Harris.

  • Make sure your dog has plenty of water.

“Right now, if you can, put a couple of bottles of water in the freezer, have them accessible, if you have to leave your house,” Chase said.

“You can feel these guys casually panting all the time, but once they get on their side and start panting with their tongues sticking out, it’s time to calm them down,” Harris said.

  • Don’t leave a pet in the car, even for a few minutes.

Austin-Travis County EMS said pets can suffer serious injuries like heat stroke and heat stroke when left in a hot car for just 15 minutes.

the Animal Legal Defense Fund is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the lives of animals through the legal system. One piece of legislation they are pushing is protecting animals in hot cars.

Currently, Texas does not have a law that allows people to enter vehicles to take out pets in hot cars.

“When animals find themselves in these emergency situations, people should be able to intervene,” said Kathleen Wood, an attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

She said that at this time there is also no way to hold pet owners responsible for leaving an animal in a hot car, but there is a reactive law, when it may be too late to save the animal.

“Someone could be charged with animal cruelty if the animal is seriously injured or dies as a result,” Wood said.

Wood said if you see an animal in distress, call 911.

“Police can enter the vehicle without a warrant because there are compelling circumstances to save that animal’s life,” Wood said.

Wood said some of the concerns they’ve received about the Good Samaritan legislation, and why it hasn’t passed in Texas, is because it fosters lawlessness. She said they haven’t seen that be the case in the other 14 states where it’s a law.

Chase said with temperatures soaring into the 105-110 degree range and the possibility of ongoing blackouts, the shelter is at risk of running out of power and needs help from the community. They are asking members of the community to foster a dog or cat for a minimum of one week.

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