Multnomah County Animal Services: Please keep your dogs and cats safe in the hot weather

This week’s arrival of summer weather in Oregon means more outdoor time for pet owners and for the animals they love.

But at the same time that people are getting outside to enjoy the warm weather, it’s important to remember some basic safety tips for cats and dogs.

“We want to make sure summer is just as fun and safe for our pets as it for all of us,” said Mike Oswald, director of Multnomah County Animal Services. “Fortunately, there are some simple steps we can all take when it turns hot.”

Among the important warm-weather tips for animal lovers to remember is that too much sun can leave short-haired dogs sunburned, and that it’s never advisable to leave an animal behind in an enclosed vehicle.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, temperatures in an enclosed vehicle can climb by 19 degrees within 10 minutes, and by 43 degrees within an hour.

“Leaving behind an animal in an enclosed vehicle for a seemingly short errand can be extremely dangerous,” Oswald said.

Animal Services also wants to remind truck owners about the hazards of leaving their pet in an uncovered pickup bed because the hot metal surface can burn the animal's pads.

Beyond leaving your pet at home when going for a drive, it’s also a good idea when it’s hot to make sure your pets have plenty of fresh, clean water; a shady space; and to exercise them in the cooler morning or evening hours.

Here are some of the warning signs your pet may have a heat-related illness:

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy or lack of appetite
  • Dark tongue
  • Drooling or vomiting
  • Mild weakness or stupor/lack of coordination
  • Seizures and collapse

If your pet exhibits any of the above signs, immediately immerse or spray the animal with cool running water until its body temperature lowers. Do not use cold water because that could cause shock. Also give your pet water to drink and consult your veterinarian if additional treatment is needed.

In addition to its responsibilities for licensing, adopting out and spay/neutering animals, Multnomah County Animal Services is also responsible 24 hours a day to respond to animal emergency calls. If you see an unaccompanied animal left behind in a car or any other animal emergency, please consult the owner if possible. If that is not an option, please call 9-1-1 or 503-988-7387.

Photo Courtesy of FEMA Photo Library


Mike Oswald, 503-988-6233