Michigan pet owners on high alert as heat wave threatens animal safety
“The best thing you can do for your pet is leave them at home”
JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Heat waves like the one currently sweeping our region pose a severe threat to the well-being of animals.
When Jackson County Animal Control Ofc. Shawn Lutz hits the road in the summer, he pays close attention to pets in cars.
“Yeah during the summer months, typically June July and August, it’s pretty average that we’ll run between 18 and 20 dogs in a vehicle a week,” said Lutz.
However, it’s not only pets confined in cars that concern Lutz. Animals without proper shelter or access to water outdoors are equally at risk.
“We try to look around and see if we can see dogs that may need a little help,” said Lutz.
He also says that animals left inside cars are an even bigger problem.
“I always try to get a couple of different spots on the vehicle,” said Lutz as he used his temperature gun on a parked car. “There on the dashboard it’s 127 (degrees), now it’s 128 (degrees). That is a very dangerous level temperature for a dog to be left in the vehicle, or a cat or a young child or anything.”
Before you take your dog on any sort of pavement, it’s important to check it with your hand first. if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Some dogs can tolerate hot pavement better than others, but it’s a good idea to check either way to prevent blistering.
“If you can’t leave your hand on the pavement for more than a minute, your dog doesn’t probably walk on that,” said Dr. Misty Sumner, Jackson County Animal Shelter’s Veterinarian.
Sumner said for animals, heat stroke sets in way faster than you might think.
She said darker-colored animals are at a higher risk, but that all owners need to keep a close eye on their pets in the summer.
“The best thing you can do for your pet is leave them at home in their cool area, even though we love to take them with us they’re our buddies, they’re not gonna want to be in that car. and it can happen so quickly, you really don’t want to take that chance in the summer,” said Dr. Sumner.
If you see a pet outside without water and shelter, or an animal stuck in a car, call animal control right away. Those are misdemeanor offenses, that could result in fines of up to $180.
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