Animal Humane Society humane investigators weigh in on heat health risks to animals
As temperatures begin to soar in the summer, so do the health risks to humans and animals alike. The Animal Humane Society (AHS) reports that most of the animal cruelty calls that AHS agents receive from the public are related to the weather.
Every year, AHS agents are flooded with calls about dogs and cats outdoors during the hot summer months. The AHS is reminding the public that when making hot weather animal reports, it is important to gather specific information about the animal to help AHS agents conduct the most thorough investigation.
Here’s what you should consider:
- What breed is the animal and how old is it? Short-nosed dogs like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Pekingese have an increased risk for breathing issues and heat stroke when it’s hot due to their facial structure.
- What does the animal look like? Are the hips and rib bones very prominent or visible? Does it have any sores or missing fur?
- How is the animal acting? Are they active? Are they lethargic or panting or drooling excessively? Lethargy and excessive panting or drooling may be a sign of dehydration or heat stroke.
- Does the animal have a water bowl within reach in the shade. Is there water in the bowl?
- Outside animals that are subject to hot weather conditions that affect their health or welfare must have access to appropriate shelter.
- Be moistureproof and windproof. The floor must be moisture-proof if it is placed directly on the ground. A non-moisture-proof floor is only allowed if the shelter is raised at least two inches from the ground. The shelter must be durable with no holes in the roof or sides. A tarp is not sufficient.
- Be of suitable size to accommodate the animal.
- Provide shade from direct sunlight between May 1 and October 31.
- Minnesota does not have tethering laws so an animal may be tied out. However, animals that are tied out must be free from entanglement or injury from the collar or tie-out cord/chain.
Lastly, animals should never be left in unoccupied vehicles when adverse weather conditions could affect their health or welfare. For example, a dog cannot be left unattended in a vehicle in direct sunlight or extreme heat.
If you find an animal in conditions that appear questionable, please contact your animal control division or AHS humane agents for assistance.
Information provided by the Animal Humane Society. For more info, visit www.animalhumanesociety.org.