Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.
- Leave your dog at home on warm days.
- On trips with your pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and bowl.
- Don't let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog's paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can accidentally be thrown out of the truck if the brakes are suddenly applied, and the dog can jump out if scared or upon seeing something interesting to chase. Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if you can't fit the dog inside the truck cab.
- Take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area, or to the vet if you see signs of heat exhaustion, which include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness, or lack of coordination. To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water. Call your veterinarian.
- Get free brochures to use to educate pet owners.
If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action:
- Note the car make, model, color and tag number, then go to the nearest stores and ask the managers to page the owner.
- Call the police, which usually can respond much faster than can animal control departments. The police have the capability to enter the vehicle and rescue the pet.
Numerous calls are received at the Sturgeon Bay Police Department of animals left in a vehicle on hot days. We appreciate the support of the community looking after our furry friends.