Pets also at risk during periods of excessive heat

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - With even hotter weather on the horizon, local officials want to remind people that pets are also susceptible to heat stress.

(Image: Rebecca Phelps/KCRG)

Hot weather can make ordinary activities like walking your dog dangerous. Veterinarians say to make sure to give your pet plenty of water and shade.

“Just like it would be difficult for you to go on a very strenuous run while it’s hot, same for your pet," Dr. David Graeff, veterinarian at the Cedar Rapids Animal Care Hospital, said. "If your dog likes to run, remember it’s hot out, so try to keep your dog from performing too much physical activity all at once.”

Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control said there are several warning signs to look out for if a pet is starting to overheat. If your animal is panting heavily or perspiring through its paws, you should get it out of the heat, and cool it down with a damp towel.

Paved surfaces, which run hotter than the air temperature in direct sunlight, are a risk for pets' sensitive paws. Veterinarians said there’s an easy test to see if it is too hot to go on a walk: slip off your own shoes and go barefoot on the sidewalk. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

The City of Cedar Rapids has an ordinance against leaving pets in unattended cars no matter the weather, but it’s especially important during the summer. Veterinarians say it can take only 20 minutes for a car to reach deadly temperatures for animals.

The fine for leaving your pet inside a car unattended is $75 plus court costs.

If you see an animal that appears to be in danger of overheating inside a vehicle, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control said to first contact the store the car is parked by. Then, call Animal Control at 319-286-5993, or the police non-emergency line at 319-286-5491.