Animal Care Hints

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Rabies Vaccination – Required by law.

Rabies is a serious virus that, when not quickly treated, results in death of an animal or person.

There are only 6 known cases of a person surviving symptomatic rabies. Approximately 55,000 people worldwide die each year from rabies. In order to prevent such tragedy, rabies vaccinations are required by law and are required prior to receiving a pet's license.

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Summertime Heat a Danger

by Ian S. Williams

It doesn't take long for summer heat to become life threatening for pets left unattended in vehicles. Here in Utah summer-like heat arrives early with temperatures frequently in the mid 90’s by the month of May.

Sandy City Animal Service Officers have already responded to dozens of incidents this spring, and will field hundreds of calls by summer's end where animals have been left unattended in vehicles.

Common sense tells most people that leaving their pet inside a parked vehicle on a hot, summer day could be dangerous after an extended period of time. But most people don't realize that the temperature can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does little to alleviate the oven-like effect of a stationary vehicle.

According the Humane Society of the United States website, "On a warm, sunny day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree Fahrenheit day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal."

A July 2005 study by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically even on mild days. With outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees, researchers found that a car's interior temperature can heat up by an average of 40 degrees within an hour. 80% of that increase occurred in the first 30 minutes. A cracked window provides little relief and generally has the opposite effect, turning the vehicle into a convection oven. The Stanford researchers found that a cracked window had an insignificant effect on both the rate of heating and the final temperature after an hour.

Pet owners are frequently amazed when officers demonstrate the interior temperature of their vehicle with a calibrated temp gun. Many insist that they were away for no more than 10 minutes when in reality it was much longer. On average it takes an officer 10 minutes to respond to a location from the time they receive a call. Generally an animal has been left alone for sometime before a concerned passerby takes notice and has an opportunity to call for help. It is not uncommon in most of these incidents for an animal to suffer between 30 and 60 minutes inside the vehicle before they are removed. There have even been occasions when owners have left their pets in a vehicle at the Jordan Commons while they went for dinner and a movie, placing their pet in that dangerous environment for nearly 3 hours.

Owners will sometimes leave a small amount of water in a dish for the animal. What may seem like a good idea is generally ineffective. In many cases the distressed animal steps on the dish and overturns the water and in a hot vehicle the water temperature increases making it useless to help cool an animal. With warm water and only hot air to breathe, a dog's normal cooling process – panting – doesn't work. A dog can withstand internal body temperatures of 104°F for only a few minutes before brain damage or death can occur. The older or more vulnerable the animal, the more susceptible they are to heatstroke or death. Even on mild days a parked car can quickly become a furnace, endangering an animal's life, and making the owner liable to criminal charges.

The best advice is to leave pets at home. You animals will forgive you if you run your errands without them.

Pet Emergency Preparedness

We are a great community for being prepared for major disasters, and that is good. But the most likely scenario is a personal emergencies. Fire, flood, temporary evacuation, accidents and so forth.

When it comes to you pets have you considered where your pet can go and who else might care for you pet in that circumstance?

  • If you are evacuated from your home, do you know which Motels in the area are "pet friendly" and what their restrictions are?
  • Have you made arrangements with a relative, friend or boarding facility?
  • Do you have a pet carrier for each pet?
  • If you have to leave in a hurry, how will your pets act and can you put them in a pet carrier?
  • In the event that you are unable to communicate, what should emergency workers do about your pet?

We have discovered that many owners have overlooked the possibility of being displaced or something happening and what will happen to our pets. You might consider getting an old back pack, Gym bag or small suitcase, and print the pets name in bold print, put it in plain sight.

Keep some of the following in the bag:

  1. Water and food, enough for several days
  2. Food and water dishes
  3. Blanket or towel for a bed.
  4. Medicine, with instructions for use.
  5. A note listing your Veterinarian and phone number, the pets name and your first and last name.
  6. The name address and phone number of a friend or relative, where the pet might stay
  7. A favorite toy and some treats
  8. For a dog, a leash and collar.
  9. For a cat, a collapsible cat carrier
  10. Small plastic bags for pet messes
  11. Write on top in bold print your name and phone numbers and your pets name.

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