Protect your pup this summer

The weather in Portland finally turned. The sun has started peeking through the gray clouds, the rain drizzles a little less often and activities among Portlandians ensue. The waterfront grows more active, people go out more and they begin driving to exotic places outdoors. Of course, why wouldn’t you bring your furry friend along with you? It’s the humane thing to do. However, when you bring your animal on these trips, be considerate and allow them to walk by your side on these adventures instead of remaining seated in the car.

When the city warms up we try to wear the bare minimum, but your dog doesn’t have this option. He is permanently stuck with his fur coat regardless of the weather. One of the things people forget about most on hot days is the pavement during the summer. The sun constantly bears down on the ground where your pal walks with nothing but his paws. This could cause some serious burns and damage to your dog’s feet. Typically the ground absorbs the summer heat, meaning even though the sun is away, the heat remains.

One way to avoid this is to touch the ground with your bare feet or hands. Odds are if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog. On days like this, leave your dogs at home or only walk your dog on grassy areas. Little dog shoes are also an option; however, this may cause sweating and discomfort for paws.

Another concern is dehydration. If you have a water bottle for yourself, get one for your dog. When going on adventures or long walks make sure to always have a bowl ready for your dog when it’s time to take a break. There are also some designated water fountains for dogs. Whenever it’s time for you to drink up, it’s time for your dog to drink up as well. To remain hydrated and healthy, take a water break every 15 to 20 minutes.

Most importantly, never leave your pet in your car unattended on a hot day. Regardless if you open the windows or not, it’s still hot in a car, especially if there is no breeze. Most people neglect to even leave a water bowl in the car. In an enclosed car, the temperature can spike up to 30 or 40 degrees more than the temperature outside. This leaves your dog in distress, panting and begging to escape. Outside temperatures as low as 70 degrees can create lethal temperatures inside an automobile. So instead of taking your dog to sit in the car on a summer day and leaving him in the car, either leave him at home or take him with you wherever you go. Absolutely no excuse warrants leaving your animal in the car on a hot day.

Fortunately, a recent law in Oregon just passed where someone can escape criminal charges if they break into someone’s car to save a distressed animal. A distressed animal is one that looks in pain, anxious, or confused, or appears unconscious in a completely enclosed car.

If you see a dog looking lethargic, panting heavily, pacing, or exhibiting a dark tongue or dry eyes, this is a possible sign of dehydration or overheating. In this case, it is your right and responsibility to break into the car and rescue the animal. One of the prerequisites to rescuing the animal is calling law enforcement and searching for the owner of the car. If neither arrives in order to rescue the animal in good health, you may forcefully enter the vehicle with criminal immunity.

Oregon’s new law is great, but it would be even better if people did not leave their animals in heated cars in the first place. Your furry buddy is just like you—he can’t walk on the hot ground, he needs water, and he gets hot. So, remember to treat your furry friend the way you want to be treated. Have a great summer, but stay responsible.