With high temperatures in the eighties through the weekend, spring weather has officially arrived throughout Missouri.

With high temperatures in the eighties through the weekend, spring weather has officially arrived throughout Missouri.

While it may seem beautiful for humans, these warm temperatures can be deadly for furry companions, especially those left unattended in parked cars. When the outside temperature is above 70 degrees, internal car temperatures can skyrocket to more than 100 degrees in just minutes, which can cause heat exhaustion and death for pets left inside these vehicles. While many welcome the warm weather, pet owners are advised to take special precautions to keep their furry companions safe.

It’s easy to remember the Humane Society of Missouri’s life-saving motto this spring:

“70 degrees and over, don’t take Rover.”

To report an animal in heat-related jeopardy, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.

Here are the top ten hot weather animal safety tips from the Humane Society of Missouri:

Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car when the temperature is near or above 70 degrees. In just minutes, the temperature inside the car can reach more than 100 degrees, regardless of whether a window is cracked. Leaving a pet in a hot, unattended car is inhumane and can cause severe injury or death within minutes. Harming a pet in this way is illegal, punishable by fines and imprisonment.

Act immediately if you see a distressed animal in an unattended car. Call the local police and the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400. A pet showing signs of distress such as heavy panting, unresponsive behavior, seizure or collapse needs immediate attention.

When the weather is dangerously hot, keep pets inside your home where it’s cool.

Immediately apply cool water to your pet’s extremities if they are showing signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, vomiting, lethargic behavior), and see your veterinarian promptly.

Make sure outdoor pets have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Secure plastic water bowls (never metal) to the ground so your pet can’t accidentally tip them over.

Don’t allow your pet to be stranded in the scorching sun; give them access to shade at all times of the day.

Take frequent water breaks if walking or jogging with your dog. Asphalt and concrete get hot quickly; you have rubber soles on your feet – your dog does not.

Never bicycle or rollerblade with a pet. Heat stroke and possible death can occur very quickly, particularly in hot weather.

Protect your pet against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which are more prevalent during warm weather. Have them tested by a veterinarian for heartworm disease (mosquito-transmitted) and use heartworm prevention medication.

Avoid shaving a dog’s coat. A pet’s coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer. Their fur also prevents sunburns. Giving long-haired dogs a trim is okay, but never shave them completely.

For more information on how to care for pets during warm weather months, or to download a hot weather flyer, poster and/or video, visit www.hsmo.org or email info@hsmo.org .