EDITORIAL: Pets suffer in hot weather

York Dispatch

For the next 10 days or so, temperatures will remain around 90 degrees, and the sun will be shining for the duration.

Jennifer Johnson's dog Lucy shakes off some excess water at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids' 14th annual "World's Largest Dog Wash" at Fifth Third Ballpark on Sunday, July 10, 2016.

The dog days of summer, if not quite here, are welcome, maybe even a little overdue, after that spring that felt more like an extended winter.

But the dog days aren’t always as enjoyable for pets, which don’t have the option of cooling down properly if their humans aren’t mindful of what a toll the summer heat can take on them.

We hope to impart some practical, hot weather advice to those who are fortunate enough to care for pets. The humane society offers the following safe pets tips for a heat wave:

  • Watch the humidity
  • Limit exercise on hot days
  • Don't rely on a fan, they don't cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
  • Provide ample shade and water
  • Cool your pet inside and out by giving them frozen treats suitable for animals and plenty of water — or, if they don’t mind a bath, a cool soak.

And finally, never leave your pets in a parked car: “Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels,” according to the Humane Society. “On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Learn how to rescue a pet in a hot car.

Prepare for power outages: Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.

We are not sure why this is still something that needs to be conveyed to the public. There have been enough tragic cases of animals left in sweltering cars to get the attention of those who care for pets. But for some reason that is beyond us, there are still those who believe that their stewardship for pets can be a careless affair and that neglect — or outright mistreatment — is acceptable because animals are lesser beings.

Animal advocates are changing this culture through petitions and other lobbying efforts meant to protect animals from harmful humans. This is being done, slowly but surely, to raise awareness about the acceptable care of animals. We'd like to lend our voice to that effort in some small way.

While we lament the fact that those reading and agreeing with our advice are not necessarily those we most need to reach, responsible pet caretakers, who treat their animals as part of the family, are a big part of a much-needed social movement that is changing the views on crimes against animals, including neglect.

And as that progresses, neglectful and harmful humans will continue to be held accountable — by both their community and the law — for the abuse of animals.

For more information on how to care for pets in extreme weather, visit the Humane Society's website at www.humanesociety.org.