Keep Your Dog Safe in the Summer Months

When temperatures reach summer highs in Reno, Washoe County Regional Animal Services, the Nevada Humane Society, and the SPCA of Northern Nevada ask that animals are not left locked inside hot cars, even for a few minutes. 

Studies show that on an 80 degree day, the inside of a vehicle can head to 99 degrees within ten minutes. On a 90 degree day, the inside of a vehicle can reach 109 in only ten minutes.

“Dogs don’t have the ability to cool their bodies the same way humans do,” said Jill Vacchina Dobbs, executive director at the SPCA of Northern Nevada. “A pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation. We think it doesn’t happen in our dog-loving community, but it does.”

WCRAS reports that they received 673 calls about a distressed pet locked inside a hot car during summer 2019. Out of all 673 calls, 472 of those were in Reno, and 176 in Sparks. 

“When it gets to the point where an animal’s well-being is threatened, animal services will take the necessary steps, as obligated by the law, to save an endangered animal by removing it from the vehicle. Even if they have to break a window to do it,” said Shyanne Shull, director at Washoe County Regional Animal Services.

Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, rapid heart-beat, difficulty breathing dizziness (staggering gait), lack of coordination, deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.

Heat Kills

In collaboration with the Nevada Humane Society and Washoe County Regional Animal Services, we have created the informational video to the left about the dangers of leaving your pets in a hot car.

During the hot summer months, remember:

  • When the temperature outside is 80 degrees, your car can heat to 99 degrees within 10 minutes.
  • When the temps outside are 90 degrees, your vehicle can heat to 109 in 10 minutes
  • What to do if you see an animal in a hot vehicle: Call the WCRAS dispatch number 322-DOGS. Report location, vehicle description and license plate number. Then enter the store and ask that they announce about a pet in a hot vehicle. After this, stay by the vehicle until help arrives.
  • Leaving a dog in the back of a truck can cause not only the dog to overheat but can burn the pads of his feet.
  • Limit exercise for your dog to early morning or late evening.
  • Provide shade from the heat and sun with plenty of fresh, cold water. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they do not restrict air flow. Having only a doghouse is not enough.
  • Some signs of heatstroke: heavy panting, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness (staggering gait), lack of coordination, deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
  • Treat pets suffering from heatstroke: Move the pet to shade or air-conditioning immediately, apply cool towels to their belly, armpits and paws.  Let them drink cool water and take them to the veterinarian immediately.
  • Before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need to take your pet with you.

See how hot a car can get for yourself! Do this activity and bake cookies on your dashboard.

Coming soon!

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