Pets and Extreme Weather

Pets & Heat

Rogers' climate is classified as humid subtropical. We have warm weather for the majority of the year with occasional cold snaps in the winter months. The summer can be blistering hot. We often see heat advisories in June through September with temperatures rising well into the upper 90‘s and into the triple digits. Summer is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors, but along with the fun, the season also offers up situations that can endanger your pet. By taking precautions, you can decrease the chance that disaster will happen..

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car
During warm weather, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even if parked in the shade and with the windows partially open. This can be detrimental for pets left in a car. Pets who are left in hot cars, even for the briefest amount of time, can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, brain damage, and can potentially die.

Dogs and cats can't sweat like humans and can only let off heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. You may think you’ll “just be a minute” or that it is “nice outside/not that hot”. Don’t take the risk. When you are out and about, play it safe and leave pets at home during the hot months of the year.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very serious conditions and could quickly result in death. Be aware of the signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.

If you do happen to see a pet in a hot car alone, alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly and/or cannot be located, call Rogers Animal Services at 479-621-1197 or the police department immediately.

Do Not Put Your Pet In the Back of a Pick-up Truck
It is extremely dangerous, and illegal in the state of Arkansas, to drive with a dog in the back of a pick-up truck. Not only can debris, low hanging branches and accidents cause serious injury, but a dog may be thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes, swerves, or is hit by another car. The best and safest place for dogs to travel is either inside a car or truck - either in a crate or with a seatbelt harness attached.

Fertilizers and Toxic Plants
Warm weather is a great time to garden and work in the yard. Beware that plant food, fertilizer, and insecticides can be poisonous and often fatal if your pet eats them.

There are more than 700 plants that can poisonous or toxic to pets. Some of them are very ordinary and abundant in Rogers including Pokeweed, Oak trees and Lilies. Be informed: click here to access the ASPCA's guide to toxic and non-toxic plants.

Pets & Swimming Pools
Some pets love to swim and it can be a fun activity to swim with your dog. However, pools can be deadly if your pet for some reason cannot get out and becomes exhausted. Make sure your pet is supervised around swimming pools and keep them from accessing the pool freely.

Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and a nice shady area for your pets while they're enjoying the outdoors so they can stay cool.

Exercising With Pets in the Heat
Just like humans, pets need exercise even when it is hot. Special care needs to be taken with older dogs, short-nosed dogs, and those with thick coats. On very hot days, exercise in early morning or evening hours when it is cooler. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on their noses and ear tips. Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are especially susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very serious conditions and could quickly result in death. Be aware of the signs of heat stress: heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue.

If your pet does become overheated, you need to immediately lower their body temperature. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water over their entire body to gradually lower the core body temperature. Apply cold towels or ice packs to your pet's head, neck, and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Most importantly, get them to a veterinarian immediately.

4th of July Safety Tips
Loud noises and crowds, in addition to the heat, can be stressful, scary and dangerous for pets. For your pet's well being, leave them home. Be especially aware of these threats during holidays, such as the 4th of July. Pets often become frightened and frantic by the noise and commotion of Independence Day. If you are going to be out, plan ahead. Do not leave your pets outside and unattended during this time - even if you have a fenced in yard. Leave them inside in a quiet area. Sometimes it helps to leave a TV or radio on quietly to keep them company. Above all, make sure your pet is licensed and that all ID tags are up to date in case they do get out.

Tornado Preparedness 
Our pets are an integral part of the family and ensuring that we include them in planning strategies for emergencies is important. Rogers' proximity to Tornado Alley puts the city at a high risk for tornadoes. You and your pets’ survival in an emergency such as a hurricane, tornado, flood or other disaster largely depends on whether or not you plan for emergencies before disaster strikes.

Extreme weather are a fact of life. Don't forget your pet when preparing a family disaster plan. Be prepared. Have a pet plan in place and a pet disaster emergency kit ready to go. In case of an emergency evacuation, this will minimize stress and chaos for both you and your pet.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), offers the following tips on building a pet tornado/emergency preparedness plan:

Before a Tornado/Emergency

  • Make sure that your pets are current on their vaccinations.  Pet shelters may require proof of vaccines.
  • Have a current photograph
  • Keep a collar with identification on your pet and have a leash on hand to control your pet.
  • Have a properly-sized pet carrier for each animal - carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand in and turn around.
  • Plan your evacuation strategy and don't forget your pet!  Specialized pet shelters, animal control shelters, veterinary clinics and friends and relatives out of harm's way are ALL potential refuges for your pet during a disaster.

During a Tornado/Emergency

  • Animals brought to an evacuation center that accepts pets are required to have:  Proper identification collar and rabies tag, proper identification on all belongings, a carrier or cage, a leash, an ample supply of food, water and food bowls, any necessary medications, specific care instructions and news papers or trash bags for clean-up.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. If you remain home in the event of a hurricane bring pets indoors well in advance of the storm - reassure them often and remain calm. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, anxiety from emergency situations can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • Evacuation centers that accept pets will be filled on first come, first served basis.  Call ahead to determine availability.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • In the event of an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.

After a Tornado/Emergency 

  • Walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home – often, familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and pets could easily be confused and become lost.  Be especially careful of downed power lines, reptiles brought in with high water and debris that can all pose a serious threat for animals after a disaster.
  • If your pet became lost during a storm or a disaster, contact local animal control to find out where lost animals can be recovered. Make sure you have a picture of your pet.
  • After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive - monitor their behavior.

Your pet emergency kit should include the following items

  • Proper identification including immunization records and your contact info
  • Newspapers/paper towels
  • Ample supply of food (wet/dry), water, treats and plastic feeding bowls
  • Secure carrier/cage with bedding
  • Medications
  • Muzzle, collar, leash
  • Toy/chew toy/blanket

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