INDIANAPOLIS — With the temperatures forecasted to be in the mid-90s over the next few days animal shelters and rescue groups are reminding Hoosiers just how dangerous the heat can be for your pet.
In Marion County, It's illegal to leave your pet outside when the temperature reaches 90 degrees.
The ordinance, which took effect in 2015, says your dog must be brought inside to a temperature controlled building when the temperature outside is 90°F and above or if there’s a heat advisory.
Also, when the temperature is at or above 80°F, your dog’s shelter must be shaded by either trees or a tarp.
Violators can face a $25 fine, but if it’s an egregious violation you could lose your ability to own dogs in Marion County. (You can read the full ordinance at the bottom of the story)
Pet owners are also encouraged to watch for the following signs of a heat stroke:
- Anxious expression
- Refusal to obey commands
- Warm, dry skin
- High fever
- Rapid heartbeat
Even if a pet received emergency treatment for a heatstroke, it can still be deadly.
Pet owners should follow these tips to keep their pets safe during the hot weather:
- Never leave your pet in the car. Though it may seem cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. If you need to run some errands, leave the furry ones at home.
- Make sure your pets do not overexert themselves. Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight, which helps its body stay cool, overdoing it can cause your pet to overheat. Keep walks to a gentle pace and make sure plenty of water is easily accessible. Also try to limit exercise to the mornings, evenings or indoors if at all possible, outside pavement is 30-50 degrees hotter than the air temperature. If your pet is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it's time to stop.
- Before taking your dog on a walk, place the backside of your hand on the sidewalk pavement. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Water, water everywhere. Whether you're indoors or out, both you and your pet need access to lots of fresh water during the summer. Make sure to check the water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full. If you and your furry friend venture out for the afternoon, bring plenty of water for both of you.
Your dog must have access to:
- A shelter constructed of solid wood or other weather resistant materials consisting of solid walls on all sides
- A dry floor raised above the ground
- A roof sloped away from the entrance to protect your dog from weather and extreme cold
During the winter months and when the temperature is below 40°F:
- The shelter must be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around
- The entrance must be covered by a flexible wind proofing material or self-closing door
- The shelter must contain clean, dry bedding which must consist of an insulating material that does not retain moisture, such as straw, and sufficient depth for your dog to burrow
Pen or Fenced Enclosure
- Your dog must have adequate space for exercise when confined to a kennel, enclosure or pen which must be at least 100 square feet (for example: 10ft. x 10ft.)
- Any dog over 80 pounds must be provided with a space of 150 square feet
- For each additional dog inside the enclosure, an extra 50 square feet must be provided
It is against the law to tether (chain) your dog if any of the following is true:
- Your dog is is less than 6 months old
- Your dog is sick or injured
- It is between 11 pm & 6 am
- Your dog is not spayed or neutered, unless you are an adult, your dog is in your visual range, and you are outside with your dog
Your dog must be brought inside a temperature controlled building, such as your house when:
- The temperature outside is 20°F & below
- The temperature outside is 90°F & above
- There’s a heat advisory
- There’s a windchill warning
- A tornado warning has been issued
On any day where the temperature is at or above 80°F, your dog’s shelter must be shaded by either trees or a tarp.