The Shasta County Sheriff’s Animal Regulations would like to remind everyone of the dangers that Redding’s extreme summer heat can pose to your pets. With temperatures already soaring into the triple digits, Animal Regulations has responded to several calls for animals left inside parked vehicles, as well as dogs in scorching hot truck beds. We would like to kindly remind pet owners to leave their pets at home, or for those traveling through our area to find a safe place to board your pet if you plan to make a stop and cannot stay in the vehicle with your pet. When temperatures outside hit 100 degrees it only takes 15 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 140 degrees, which can quickly kill or cause permanent injury to your pet.
Heatstroke can occur even in dogs running loose on a hot day, but occurs more quickly when they are closed inside a vehicle. Leaving the windows cracked and parking a vehicle in the shade does very little to help. Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include exaggerated panting or the sudden stopping of panting, a rapid or erratic pulse, profuse salivation, an anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, tongue and lips that are bright red (which may eventually turn bluish in color), convulsions, vomiting, collapse, coma, and death.
Hot asphalt is another serious concern pet owners need to be aware of, even in their own backyard. On a temperate 87 degree day the asphalt temperatures can hit 143 degrees, with skin destruction occurring after less than 60 seconds of contact. If you’re thinking of taking your pet for a walk, please do so in the early morning, or late evening hours when the pavement is cooler. You can check if it is too hot by placing the back of your hand against the pavement and holding it there for 10 seconds; if it is too uncomfortable for you to keep your hand there, then it is too hot for your dog as well.
If you come across an animal left unattended in a vehicle, contact Animal Regulations right away. If the animal is still conscious, attempt to locate the pet owner, ideally leaving someone to monitor the condition of the dog and wait for Animal Regulations to arrive. Under the authorization of California Penal Code 597.7 “A peace officer, humane officer, or animal control officer is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle, including but not limited to, breaking into the motor vehicle, after a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other responsible person.” At this time legislation is being proposed in the form of California Assembly Bill 797, which would enable protection for Good Samaritans in certain circumstances to assist in removing a dog from a hot vehicle. If it is deemed necessary by Animal Regulations to remove your animal, you may face a citation, which can carry a fine of up to $500 and the possibility of up to six months in the county jail for multiple convictions.
Emergency treatment for a dog showing signs of heatstroke include immediately moving the animal to a cool, shady place, wetting the dog with cool (NOT COLD) water, particularly on any exposed skin areas such as the belly, armpits, and paws, and fanning the animal vigorously to promote evaporation. Do not apply ice or very cold water which can cool the animal too rapidly and cause it to go into shock. If the dog is able to do so, allow it to drink some cool, but again NOT COLD, water. If a dog has not returned to a normal state within 30 minutes it should be taken to a veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment. Heatstroke can cause organ failure, and brain damage very quickly and is considered a medical emergency.
Pets at an increased risk to heat related conditions includes those which are very old or very young, breeds with a short snout, and breeds with a thicker coat. For the love of your pets, please leave them home during these months of extreme heat in our area!
In an emergency please dial 911, you can reach the Shasta County Animal Regulation’s Dispatcher at 245-6540, in the City of Redding please call 241-2550, in the City of Anderson please call 245-6526, and in the City of Shasta Lake please call 275-7480. VCA Asher is our area’s 24 hour Emergency Veterinary Hospital and is located at 2505 Hilltop Drive, Redding, just north of Cypress Avenue. Talk to your regular veterinarian about their recommendations for your specific animal, and be familiar with their facility’s emergency policies.