Brace for the heat: Protect your pets and have a plan

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) urges all pet companions to take preventative measures to protect their pets during this week’s heatwave. This is also a good time to check your pets ‘to-go’ kit as there is always the looming threat of fire when temperatures soar.

Protect your pets:

Water to prevent dehydration: Plenty of clean, cool drinking water is a must at all times.

Protection from the sun: If your pet must stay in the yard, instead of the cool indoors, be sure he has adequate shade and ventilation with plenty of drinking water in a tip-proof bowl.

Emergency Care: If a pet is overcome by heat (detected by excessive panting, is heavily salivating, and/or immobile) immerse him slowly in cool water to lower his body temperature, then contact a veterinarian. Never immerse a pet in ice cold water, it may cause him shock.

Keep Pets Groomed: Clip long or matted coats short to help your pet stay cool. Remember that pets, like people, can get sunburned and coats should not be TOO short.

Health Check: Carefully go over your pet’s body at least once a week to check for fleas, ear mites and tiny bumps or cuts. Bring your pet to the vet for a summer check-up and use a good flea and tick repellent recommended by your vet.

Fleas: Fleas need to be attacked on three fronts: on the pet, in the home and in the yard.

Exercise: Exercise pets in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.

Prevent Burns: Dog pads burn easily, so avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt on hot days.

Identification: With the hotter weather, families and their pets are outside more often, increasing the chances of a pet getting lost. Make sure your pets always wear proper identification.

Park your pet at home: Never leave your pet in a parked car, not even for a minute. It could cost him his life. The temperature in a parked car can soar to 160 degrees within minutes, even with the windows left slightly open.

Prepare for your pets’ safety in the event of an evacuation or disaster:

Microchip your dogs and cats, and ensure they are wearing current ID tags at all times.

Familiarize yourself with pet CPR, resuscitation, and general first aid. If roads are blocked, emergency services may not be available.

Keep your pets current on vaccines. During a disaster, your pet may get lost or may be housed in a shelter with other animals, thereby potentially being exposed to infectious diseases.

Entrust a neighbor or friend to get your pets to safety, in case you are at work when a disaster strikes, and make a back-up plan to board your animal during a disaster (veterinarian, boarding facility, etc.).

Display an Animals Inside sign in doors and windows, so responders know there are animals on the premises.

Make a kit

In addition to the food, water and supplies you need for the people in your family, make sure to include the following items for you pets in your disaster kit.

Current photos of your pets, copies of vaccination records & veterinarian’s contact info

Collars, leashes & carriers for your pets

A minimum of three weeks’ supply of pet food & bottled water (plus bowls & can openers)

Treats, toys, blankets & towels

Pet First Aid Kit (should include: pet first aid book, antiseptic, topical ointment, dressing and any prescribed pet medications)

Soft muzzle (some government evacuation vehicles/facilities may require for all dogs)

Waste removal system: disposable baggies for dogs and/or cat litter, scooper & temporary litter box (like a disposable aluminum foil pan) for cats

spcaLA is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877.  There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA.  Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.