HS Animal Services offers tips on protecting pets during a heatwave – Hot Springs Sentinel | Hot Mobile Press

As heat advisories remain in place for Garland County and many other areas of the state, Hot Springs Animal Services recommends ways to keep pets safe, especially if they are regularly outside.

“If you have pets outside, make sure they have plenty of cool water, shade, and something with air circulation, as a kennel is not good for a dog in that kind of heat. Hot Springs Animal Services director Chris Adkins said.

Hot Springs Animal Services coordinator Michelle Stone warned against giving an animal very cold water or ice if its body temperature is high because it could shock the animal’s body. Adkins also recommended wrapping cool, wet towels around a heat-sick animal rather than dousing them with cold water and contacting a veterinarian.

It is recommended to keep animals off sidewalks and asphalt for at least two days during a period of extreme heat or a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees.

“Their feet get blistered like ours would, so grass is optimal,” Adkins said.

“If it feels hot when you put your hand on it, your dog will definitely get hot, so keep that in mind,” Stone said.

Dogs and cats sweat through their paws, Adkins said. Leaving a small pool of cool water outside for the animals can in some cases cool them down faster than drinking water.

While cats are more agile and have a higher chance of finding a place to cool off, dogs may have a harder time, especially when leashed or confined as the city dictates. Stone said she’s noticed more dogs digging to keep cool in the high temperatures lately.

“When a dog is in a fence, they’re more likely to dig to get to cool places if they’re confined to one area,” Stone said. “So just make sure you keep it cool with some water if you’ve got nothing but dirt or something.”

Animal services have been notified of multiple cases of dogs being left alone in hot cars this summer, Stone said.

“If it’s 85 degree weather and the sun is out, it can be 102 within 10 minutes,” she said. “Thirty minutes, it’s 120, so the dog kicks out. Even if you have your windows down, it won’t matter. With no cool air flowing through, it still gets hot, as hot as with the window closed.”

The Hot Springs Police and Fire Department and Animal Services have access to infrared thermometers that allow them to measure the temperature inside a car. The device is also used by firefighters to test for hot spots when controlling home fires, Adkins said.

If a passer-by notices a dog trapped in a locked car, Adkins said the best thing to do is call 911 right away.

“If we have to break a window, it has been done before to gain access to a car,” he said. “At that point the owner will be charged with animal cruelty, it will be a felony. Because if you knowingly leave an animal in a vehicle bound for Walmart, Kroger, wherever you are going, for an extended period of time and the dog walks by because of the heat, you will be charged.”

Hot Springs Animal Services’ primary goal is education, Stone said.

“Often times we want to educate people because sometimes they just don’t know or if the person is homeless,” she said. “We’ve seen this many times where they have their animals in their vehicle and that’s where they sleep so their animals are always in their vehicle. But they must understand that if they are hot, their animal will be hot too.

“We want to clarify. That’s our biggest thing here, just letting people know what to do and what not to do,” she said.

Although animals can be adopted through Hot Springs Animal Services, all of the dogs that were on the premises Wednesday have already been adopted and will be picked up Friday, Stone said. The shelter still had cats and kittens available for adoption on Wednesday.

To protect the animals from excessive heat, authorities recommend giving them constant access to cool water and a shelter with airflow. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record
photo Although all of the dogs at the shelter were adopted Wednesday, Hot Springs Animal Services still had cats and kittens available for adoption. – Photo by Courtney Edwards of The Sentinel-Record

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