City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Seattle Animal Shelter offers tips to keep pets safe during warm weather
8/13/2013  3:12:00 PM
Don Jordan (206) 386-4286
Kara Main-Hester (206) 386-4293
Katherine Schubert-Knapp (206) 684-0909
Julie Moore  (206) 684-0909

Seattle Animal Shelter offers tips to keep pets safe during warm weather
Shelter asks pet owners to leave animals home while attending Hempfest this weekend

With the weather expecting to hit 80 degrees during the annual Hempfest celebration this weekend, the Seattle Animal Shelter reminds pet owners to exercise good judgment when it comes to protecting their pets from the summer heat. Most likely the best option is to leave your pets at home.

“Each year during Hempfest, the Animal Shelter is inundated with calls about pets locked in cars on hot summer days,” says Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan. “Many pet owners are unaware that cars left in direct sunlight turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes. Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death. Dogs must cool themselves through panting and their systems can’t handle high temperatures.”

Jordan pleads with pet owners to leave their animals home while attending Hempfest this coming weekend. “It’s not worth the risk,” he says. “If humane law enforcement officers respond to a call about an animal in distress due to heat stress, the officer will utilize all means necessary to access the vehicle and remove the animal,” Jordan says.

If you must bring your dog to Hempfest, don’t leave it in the car, be sure that it isn’t exposed to toxic substances, and be sure that it drinks plenty of water during the festival.

Jordan offers the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:

  • Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area where the animal can retreat to such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
  • If you must leave an animal indoors, open the windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
  • Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked car. Temperatures can exceed 130 degrees in a matter of minutes. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves through their lungs by panting. Hot air can lead to brain damage or death. Also, be aware that vinyl seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevents them from perspiring through their paws. Remember, with the movement of the sun, a vehicle originally parked in the shade may soon be in direct sunlight.
  • Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.

Feathered friends:

  • Take caution and place the bird's cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon.
  • Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

Pet owners can be held criminally liable for committing cruelty to animals if a pet dies, or is found suffering from heat prostration. If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387 (PETS).


Seattle Animal Shelter