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Pet safety urged as temperatures heat up

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A small dog peeks out through a cracked window in a parking lot in St. Helens. This summer, keep pets safe by giving them plenty of clean water, and keeping them out of the heat and off hot surfaces On a Monday after a record heat wave in Oregon, Roger Kadell catches up on calls. He’s the lone dog control officer for Columbia County. The job gives him a large radius to cover and limited resources to do so.

He relies on the help of police departments in each city to respond to animal complaints if he can’t get there in time.

It’s not unusual for Kadell to get calls from concerned residents who spot dogs left in hot cars, but unseasonably warm temperatures in early June left some hyper-vigilant and others unprepared.

“The primary spaces I’ve been seeing is Fred Meyer parking lot and Walmart parking lot,” Kadell says. “I think it’s because they’re high-volume parking lots.”

With summer officially here, Kadell doesn’t expect his workload to slow down any time soon.

It’s become a cliché warning for many pet owners, but still, animal control agencies constantly get calls of anim-

als, mostly dogs, left in hot spaces.

“If it’s more than 80 degrees out and your car is in direct sunlight, you’re gonna have a problem,” Kadell warns. “It really doesn’t take very long for a car to heat up. Try and sit in your car and roll the windows up with no air on and see how long it takes before you need to turn the air back on.”

The Oregon Humane Society lists a “Danger Zone” fact sheet, specifically to prevent people from leaving dogs unattended in hot cars.

“On an 85-degree day, a car’s interior temperature can climb to 120 degrees in 20 minutes, even with the windows slightly open,” OHS reports. “Temperatures inside a car increase by an average of 19 degrees in the first 10 minutes, 29 degrees in 20 minutes; and 33 degrees in 30 minutes, regardless of the outside temperature.”

Dogs left in hot cars, or even hot yards with no reprieve can easily be overcome with heat exhaustion.

“If a dog is lethargic and is panting, and drooling at the mouth, those are all signs that he’s having heat dehydration in a car,” Kadell says. “Water doesn’t cool a dog off unless you’re dumping it on him. They need to be able to breathe cool air.”

OHS also advises pet owners not to walk dogs on sidewalks or paved OREGON HUMANE SOCIETY PHOTO - A retreiver cools off in a small plastic wading pool. The Oregon Humane Society advises pet owners to get a small kiddie pool for their dogs if they can, to keep them cool during hot sumer months.roads during peak heat temperatures, and not to transport dogs in the back of pickup trucks on hot days, as the hot ground or metal truck bed can burn their skin and paw pads.

With most of the calls he responds to, Kadell says he tries to educate owners, rather than citing them.

“Most of the time we get there and it’s an educational thing,” he says. “Unless the dog has really suffered some sort of injury, or death. I might issue two, maybe three hot dog citations a summer, rather than taking them criminally. ...Typically, if it’s something beyond, where a warning doesn’t seem like it’s working, or a person doesn’t come out and we have to remove the animal, then we issue a citation. We don’t wait very long on that.”

Animal neglect is a violation of Columbia County’s ordinances and can come with a $500 fine, according to Kadell.

Oregon law also requires minimum care standards for animals. By law, animals must have adequate food, water and shelter. Carriers intended for transport, cardboard boxes, wire cages or kennels, crawl spaces under structures, shade underneath vehicles, or any shelter surrounded by waste and debris.

Tips for summer pet care

? Do keep your pets inside the house, with plenty of water. The best place for your pet to be during the heat of the day is inside with you - especially if you have an air conditioner or fan;

? Do give outside pets lots of shade and plenty of water to drink if it is not possible to bring them indoors;

? Do get a kiddie pool and fill it with water for your dogs to splash and play in. They will love it.

Symptoms of heatstroke could include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark red tongue or gums, vomiting, and lack of coordination. Contact your veterinarian if your pet exhibits these symptoms.

If your pet is overcome by heat exhaustion, immediately immerse or spray the animal with cool running water (avoid cold water as that could cause shock) and continue until the body temperature lowers. Give your pet water to drink and consult your veterinarian right away to determine if additional treatment is needed.

— Oregon Humane Society