Staying Cool When the Weather is Hot

Berkshire Humane Society advises all residents of the Berkshires and surrounding areas to be mindful of their pets’ safety during the forecasted heat wave. With expected temperatures in the 90s through Friday, pets should be kept indoors, out of cars and the sun, off hot pavement and constantly hydrated.

“We remind everybody at this time of year to leave your pets home,” said John Perreault, Executive Director of Berkshire Humane Society. “Don’t bring them out shopping with you, don’t take them out in the car where you’re going to run into a facility or an establishment, even if you think you’re going for a couple of minutes. On a day when it’s only 70 degrees in the shade, temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes, putting your pet in jeopardy.” Extreme heat can kill pets or cause irreversible organ damage to them quickly.

“It doesn’t matter if you crack your windows,” he added. “We want to make sure you keep your pets safe.” It is illegal in Massachusetts to confine an animal in a vehicle exposed to extreme weather conditions. If you see an animal in a hot car, make note of the car’s make, model and license plate and notify nearby businesses so they can make an announcement to find the owner. Call the local police or animal control officer and wait until they arrive. Civilians can enter a vehicle to relieve an animal in distress only if there is no other way to get the animal out, they’ve tried to locate the owner and have called 911.

 “Not only are cars hot, the pavement is, too,” added Perreault. “It can burn a dog’s pads very quickly, so if you walk your dog in neighborhoods with a lot of pavement, walk them early in the morning or after the sun has set.” Protective booties or paw balm can also protect a dog’s feet. Walks should be kept short and the amount of outdoor play limited.

Ideally, pets live indoors with their families. To help pets keep cool, provide plenty of fresh water at all times. Keep shades drawn and windows closed in air-conditioned rooms and use fans with windows open if air conditioning is not available. If dogs must spend time outside, make sure they have constant shade even as the sun moves across the sky. Consider setting up a kiddie pool for dogs who enjoy playing in water, and make sure that water bowls and pools are in shaded areas.

See our Topic Tuesday video about keeping pets cool.