EDITORIAL: Take care of pets in extreme weather
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 7:35 PM EDT
Some believe a measure of a society’s enlightening is how the most vulnerable are treated.
The vulnerable includes animals, such as household pets. The last couple of weeks have shown too many among us are not caring for our pets in this extreme heat.
Pam Porteous, manager of the Animal Care Network, reports that many dogs died daily in the recent heat wave in Oakland County — especially in Pontiac — because of neglect.
There was a haunting picture of a dog in a weekend story that tried to find a cooler place by digging a hole next to the house it lived at and climbing into the hole.
This should never occur, and animal control officials are looking for the owner who could face misdemeanor neglect charges.
“Owners have to provide food, water and shelter” to their pets, Porteous said.
Sgt. Joanie Toole of Oakland County Animal Control said an owner is subject to charges of cruelty to animals for leaving a pet outside chained up in a yard without a place for shade or sufficient food and water. If convicted, fines can range up to $500.
A pet left outside in extreme heat or in a vehicle — which is even worse — can develop heat stroke in as little as 10 minutes.
One good thing for a dog is a kiddie pool where the animal can rest in tepid water and get relief from the broiling sun.
Signs of heat stroke in a pet include increased temperature, vigorous panting, thick saliva, dark red gums, lying down and being unable to get up and disorientation or collapse.
If you believe your pet has heat stroke, immediately move it out of the heat and sun and take it to a veterinarian for treatment.
An owner can also begin to cool down the pet by placing a cool washcloth or towel on its body, especially the foot pads and around the head.
Don’t use ice to cool off an overheated animal; do it slowly with cool water.
If you see a dog or cat in distress, speak to its owner and suggest bringing the animal inside or provide it with basic protection from extreme weather.
If the owner fails to respond, contact the local animal shelter, Humane Society or the animal control office.
If you were in a jam, it’s likely your loving pet would help you without thinking twice. Return the favor.
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