Cape Cod is an outdoor lover’s paradise for man and man’s best friend alike – especially during the summer months. While enjoying all that Cape Cod has to offer, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Center wants to remind you that the heat can adversely impact your dog’s health and wellbeing – particularly in a parked vehicle.
Even with outside temperatures below 80 degrees, the threat of heat stroke persists, as the temperature inside a vehicle can rise well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes – even with the windows cracked. Animals do not sweat like we do, making them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat.
Symptoms of heat stroke include difficulty breathing, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting or seizures. If an animal is suffering from any of these symptoms, immediate veterinary attention is needed.
Aside from the health hazards, Massachusetts law prohibits confining an animal in a vehicle when extreme hot or cold conditions could potentially threaten the animal’s health. The law also allows first respondents and ordinary citizens to enter and remove the animal should it be determined that the animal’s life is in danger.
If you spot an animal in a vehicle that you deem to be in danger, before entering you must:
• Make reasonable efforts to locate the vehicle owner;
• Notify law enforcement/call 911;
• Determine the vehicle is locked with no other means of entry;
• Not use more force than is reasonably necessary to gain entry and remove the animal;
• Have a good faith belief that entry into the vehicle is necessary to prevent imminent harm to the animal.
ARL wants your pet to be happy, healthy and safe this summer and in that spirit -- prevention is the best solution. When it’s hot outside, leave your dog home in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room. If they are outside, find a shady spot with ample breeze to help prevent overheating. Hydration is key! Always have a cool bowl of water accessible at all times.
Traveling to the Cape? If you’re staying at a pet-friendly establishment, make sure you can leave your animal in your room unattended. If that is not allowed, there are a number of facilities throughout the Cape that offer doggie day care services.
Finally, and this is one that many people overlook, when it’s hot outside, limit outdoor exercise for your pet to times when it’s coolest – early morning or late evening.
Remember, when the temperature rises, it’s Too Hot for Spot! For more animal-related safety tips, please visit arlboston.org.
The ARL has served Cape Cod since 1921. Their Brewster shelter is equipped with a stable and paddock to accommodate large animals, as well as animal housing and adoption center for companion and small animals.