Protecting your pets in summer

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: with summer temperatures approaching, please do not leave your pets in parked cars, even with the windows down! Leashed dog with big ears in sunshineTemperatures in cars can rise to 30 degrees over the outdoor temperature within half an hour, which means on a 70-degree day, it could get to 100 degrees inside your car…and on a 90-degree day, it could get as high as 120 degrees. These are not the kinds of “hot dogs” we want to see this summer!

Arlington’s animal control officer Katie Kozikowski says her #1 tip is to leave your pets at home. She adds, “Leaving [your pets] at home while you run errands will be much better for your animal. If anyone is concerned that their animal cannot be home alone for whatever reason – turn the TV on to Animal Planet for them to watch, turn on a radio, have a pet sitter come over and hang out with them. There are several options an owner has before having to resort to leaving them in a sweltering car. Your pet will thank you and you will be happy when you come home to a happy, healthy and non-distressed furry family member.”

What are some other ways to help our pets keep cool in hot weather?
  • Add ice to your pet’s water dish, give them ice to chew on, or make some “pupsicles.”
  • For small animals (rabbits,  guinea pigs, etc) a frozen water bottle is great for them to rest up against to keep them cool (just make sure they’re not chewing the plastic).
  • Cold tiles are a great way for dogs and cats to cool down. If your basement is underground, that may be a cooler place for a pet to hang out with you to stay cool.

If library staff or patrons notice dogs left in cars in the library lot, we will make one announcement over the PA system, then we will call animal control or the police non-emergency number. The officer may issue a written warning or may remove the animal if it appears to be in distress. According to the Massachusetts State General Laws, Part I, Title XX, Chapter 140, Section 17F, “A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold.” An animal control officer, police officer, firefighter, or any citizen (after contacting 911, and if s/he believes the animal is in imminent danger) may remove the animal from the vehicle.

“People in Arlington do not hesitate to call or take dogs being left in cars lightly,” Kozikowski says. She says that people call the her or the police about dogs being left in cars on almost every single hot day in the summer time (i.e. all of them): “What people don’t realize is how quickly cars heat up and how little dogs can sweat to keep themselves cool.”

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