Debbie McAndrew

Jefferson County Humane Officer Debbie McAndrew

Summer temperatures are beginning to climb, and local animal experts are reminding pet owners to keep an eye on their four-legged companions.

On sunny 70-degree days, the temperature inside a car can still climb to 104 degrees in half an hour, potentially reaching 113 degrees in one hour, according to www.heatkills.org. A car parked directly in sunlight is at risk of inside temperatures climbing even faster and higher.

Jefferson County Humane Officer Debbie McAndrew said pet owners taking their dog to the store with them on a scorching hot day is simply not worth it.

“No dog wants to be left in the car while the person is shopping,” she said. “If you feel compelled to take your dog, go to a pet-friendly store — Lowe’s, Tractor Supply, Petco — but if you’re going to Walmart, leave your dog at home.”

Due to legal restrictions and the diligence of Jefferson County Humane Control, there are fewer dogs being tied out for long periods of time, McAndrew says, and she has observed more dog kennels outside.

The law indicates dogs cannot be tied out in 90 degree weather, and they must have potable water at all times, McAndrew said. They must also have shade available inside a doghouse, something people commonly misunderstand.

“I recently saw a Facebook post that showed the inside of a doghouse is not cool like the shade of a tree,” she said.

One of her biggest concerns at the moment, McAndrew said, is the biting flies that can get on the dog’s face and ears, creating bites and wounds.

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“Dogs should be sprayed down with a pet-safe repellent,” she said.

Nicole Powers, founder of “Happy Tails Pet Sitting Service” based in DuBois, said she pays close attention to heat conditions while taking care of clients’ pets in the summer.

On hot days, dogs are at risk for burning their paws on scorching hot pavements or melting roads, according to www.vetsnow.com. If the temperature is 77 degrees, asphalt and tarmac can still reach a staggering 125 degrees.

Considering that one egg can fry at 131 degrees and skin destruction can occur at 125 degrees, pet owners should be aware that it’s sometimes hotter than they think it is, according to VetsNow.

“I always, always, before a long walk in the summer, place my hand on the pavement,” Powers said. “If it’s too hot to place your hand there for five seconds, it’s too hot to walk your pups.”

Powers also makes sure the dogs have plenty of water, but advises not to add ice cubes to it, as it can cause dogs to go into shock.

“Another tip I give is to either walk your pup before the sun comes up, or as it’s going down in the summer,” she said. “Midday is usually when it’s the most hot.”

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