Tips for keeping pets safe in hot weather

As warmer weather approaches, Greenhill Humane Society shares safety tips for pets

As the weather gets warmer, Greenhill Humane Society has some important tips to share on keeping pets safe. When it comes to furry family members please remember:

  • Leave pets at home when running errands.  Leaving your animal in a parked car, even for just a few minutes can easily cause heat stroke or brain damage. A car’s interior temperature can increase in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat stress because they do not sweat in the way that humans do; they release body heat by panting.
  • Oregon’s “Good Samaritan” law (dogs / kids in hot cars) states the following:
    • Anyone – not just law enforcement – may enter a motor vehicle, “by force or otherwise,” to remove an unattended child or domestic animal without fear of criminal or civil liability, as long as certain requirements are met. To fulfill these requirements, a person must:
      • Have a reasonable belief that the animal or child is in imminent danger of suffering harm;
      • Notify law enforcement or emergency services either before or soon after entering the vehicle;
      • Use only the minimum force necessary to enter the vehicle; and
      • Stay with the animal or child until law enforcement, emergency services, or the owner or operator of the vehicle arrives.
  • Keep pets inside during the heat of the day; do not leave them outside unattended.
  • Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water.
  • When pets are outside, be sure there are shaded areas for them to rest in and invest in a misting hose or kiddie pool for a cool place for your pets to play.
  • Limit or skip on exercise at the dog park during the heat of the day.
  • Always test the pavement or sand with your hand before stepping out (too hot to touch is too hot for your pet). Walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots. If you suspect your pet’s paws have been burned, contact your vet immediately.
  • Dogs should not ride in uncovered pickup truck beds.  The hot metal truck bed can burn your pet’s paw pads. 


Heatstroke symptoms can include
 restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting and lack of coordination.  If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, consult your veterinarian right away. 

The full text of Oregon’s “Good Samaritan” law can be found under ORS 30.813.