Things to Remember During
the Hot Summer Months!

Inspired by a recent local block party, where dozens of dogs were walking alongside their owners on the incredibly hot asphalt, we thought it was time to remind dog owners about a few things they need to remember during the HOT summer months ahead!

First of all, know when to leave your pets at home! Block parties are fun for people, but not for dogs! Seeing scantily clad women in bikinis, or scoring a great deal from a vendor means nothing to your pet. All your dog cares about is how much longer he'll have to endure the heat before he can sit in the shade and get a cool drink of water!

Asphalt is not something that is found in nature....and it can get incredibly hot! People don't notice it because we're wearing shoes. We're also walking upright, and don't feel the heat emanating from the ground.

Dogs, however, don't have it so good. While the pads of a dogs paws are tough, they are not tough enough to handle the prolonged exposure to hot asphalt without burning! Additionally, because the body of a dog is only a short distance from the asphalt, they are exposed to much more of the heat that rises from the hot ground. Don't make the mistake of assuming that because you don't feel the heat, that it doesn't affect your dog. Reach down, place your palm firmly on the ground....can you hold your hand there without it hurting? If not, then it's probably too hot to expose your pet for an extended period of time.

On July 4th, a young golden retriever was found running in the streets of Serra Mesa, frightened by firecrackers. The pads of her bloody paws were so burned and blistered by the hot asphalt that they required serious veterinary care! Recently, someone brought their large dog to a car show in the East County. The poor pooch was literally dancing on the pavement as it lifted his burning paws one by one, trying to escape the heat. Several people asked the gentleman to take notice of his dog....but he just ignored everyone. Eventually, he left....his limping puppy in tow.

(Bit of advice: if the only way you can get people to notice or talk to you is to drag your dog along......maybe it's time to work on your social skills.)

Meanwhile, dogs and cars DON'T MIX during the hot summer months. Under no circumstance should a dog be left in a car in hot weather. Even if you think you can park in the shade and go shopping, the shade shifts and the temperature in a car can increase rapidly to a dangerous level. DOGS DON'T SWEAT the same way humans do. Heat stroke and permanent brain damage can result from leaving your dog in a car for even a relatively short period of time. Good rule of thumb....if in doubt, leave your dog at home.

Which brings us to backyards. It is the LAW to provide water and adequate shelter from the elements. If you see, or know of a neighbor who does not provide these things for his/her dog, please call the authorities immediately....they will not tell your neighbor who called.

Make sure that your pet has shade from the hot sun at all times. Fresh and adequate amounts of water must also be provided. If your dog tends to knock over his/her water bowl, place more water bowls around the yard, or secure the water bowl in a way that it can't be knocked over. (Not providing water to "teach your dog a lesson" about knocking over it's water bowl is not only cruel, but stupid.) Additionally, always provide enough food and water for your pet in case there is an emergency which prevents you from getting home on time. Also, keep a neighbor's home number handy in case of an emergency in which they may have to help with the care of your pet.

Just remember, when in doubt, do what's safest for your pet. Don't be anthropomorphic, and assume what is fun for you, is fun for your dog. It just doesn't work that way. It's your job to be smarter than your pet, and to do what is in his/her best interest at all times.

(El Cajon) It's Summer and it's Getting Hot! So A Reminder To Never Leave Children, the Elderly or Pets Unattended In Cars!

Weather in San Diego County is generally warm, but now that summer is officially here temperatures are getting hotter and it's time to remind motorists, parents and care givers "please do not leave children, the elderly or pets unattended in your vehicle." Even with windows partially open temperatures on just a warm day can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes. What may seem like just minute or two can easily turn into a deadly mistake. That quick trip to the cleaners, grocery store, pharmacy, bank or post office is not worth the life of your child or pet!

For El Cajon Animal Control, Officers there have been called out to dogs left in vehicles at least three times in the last few days. (see photo below from an incident today about 1pm) Today passerbys called Police to report a dog left in a vehicle in the parking lot of City Hall and the Court House. Although a window was rolled down half way, temperatures in the vehicle were well over 100 degrees and climbing.

The public is asked to call police to report children or pets they see left in vehicles unattended during warm or especially hot weather. In this heat a child or pet can quickly die of hyperthermia and/or suffer brain damage. For dogs, signs of heat stress will be heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse rate, dizziness, vomiting, or a deep red or purple or purple tongue.

The fine for leaving your child or pet in a hot vehicle unattended is $100...but the cost of a life is priceless. Please use caution during this hot weather. Leave you child with a baby sitter or take them with you in the store. Leave your pets at home, but make sure they have plenty of water and shade.

Animal Control with dog in vehicle


In San Diego, if you see a pet in distress in a vehicle, dial 911 or find the nearest police officer, firefighter, paramedic, sheriff or animal control officer. These people are authorized to break a car window if they believe the pet is in distress! It is ALWAYS better to be safe, than call 911 immediately! (This is considered an emergency!) If you don't have a cell phone available, take down the license plate, make, model, color and location of the vehicle and report the information as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence, and minutes count!

In addition to a misdemeanor charge of $100 or more (and whatever automobile repair expenses are incurred), the negligent pet owner's information will then be in the "system" and any future occurrences of animal abuse or neglect may result in having all pets taken away from the household, in addition to preventing the persons from owning pets in the future.

Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can reach 120F in a matter of minutes even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation when trapped in high temperatures. Tinted windows don't help to prevent hot temperatures, and the law requires the animal to have access to freeflowing, fresh air!

Should your pet be exposed to high temperatures, you must lower his body temperature immediately by taking the following steps:
  1. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over his body to gradually lower his body temperature.
  2. Apply ice packs or cold towels to your pets head, neck, and chest only.
  3. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
  4. Finally, rush your pet to a veterinarian it could save your pets life.