There may not be drought conditions in Utah similar to those parching the Midwest, but animal owners should still be aware that hot conditions in the state can be dangerous for animals.
The Animal Protection Institute says that while ranch animals are the most likely to suffer from the hot, dry weather, household pets, especially those kept outdoors, can also suffer if owners do not take precautions.The institute says animal owners should be aware of the need for shade and the provision of water for their pets. Working people often are aware of shade conditions at the time they leave for work, but do not take into consideration that with the sun movement during the day, the shade may disappear, leaving animals exposed to the hot sun. Often the heat will warm water left for the animals to a temperature that makes the water undrinkable.
If necessary, owners should consider making a tent-like structure out of a tarp that will provide shade while the owner is away. Also, by burying a pet's water container halfway into the ground, the water is kept cooler and the animal is less likely to tip the water over.
Institute officials say it is also important for pet owners to be aware of the dangers inherent in leaving an animal inside a car. Tests conducted by the institute show that temperatures inside cars can soar as high as 159 degrees on days that outside temperatures reach 100 degrees. Even with windows rolled down 1 or 2 inches, temperatures still climb high enough inside the car to pose a death threat to a dog.
The best emergency treatment for a dog is to immerse the animal's body in cool water to help lower body temperature.
Farm animals face the challenge of getting enough water to keep their bodies cool. Horses and cows tend to ingest between 10 and 30 gallons of water daily. During normal conditions, much of the water comes from the grass the animals eat. During prolonged hot spells, the moisture in the grass is reduced and animals may need more supplemental water to meet their needs. Owners should take steps to ensure that adequate water supplies are provided.
For further information or counseling, the institute can be contacted at (916) 422-1921. The institute also publishes a Hot Car flyer, which can be requested by writing to API-Hot Car, 2831 Fruitridge Rd., P.O. Box 22505, Sacramento, Ca. 95822.