Heat Claims Dog a Day in GP - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Complete coverage of Texas' record heat wave of 2011

Heat Claims Dog a Day in GP

Grand Prairie records 25 canine heat-related deaths in 25 days



    Heat Claims Dog a Day in GP
    Dogs need to stay cool, just like humans.

    by Bruce Felps

    News flash, this just in: It’s friggin’ hot out there.

    In related news, pets should not be left outside for long periods of time during extreme weather, you moron, you.

    Sadly, 25 families in Grand Prairie lost their dogs because of heat-related deaths, one a day for 25 days, according to the Prairie Paws Animal Shelter.

    Purposeful abuse didn’t kill the canines. They died because they were left outside without proper shade or water for too long a time.

    They might be animals but they are domesticated animals and not physically able to withstand the elements like their wild cousins, wolves and coyotes. Family dogs rely on the air conditioning almost as much as we do. Plus, they carry around a fur coat, which can’t be overly comfortable when the temperature is 103 outside.

    Get a freakin’ clue, people. Patricia Redfearn, manager of the Grand Prairie shelter, will spot you some.

    "During days this hot, do not leave your pet outside," she said in a press release. "If you have to, you must provide adequate shade, a bath of water — like a kiddy pool — in the shade, and plentiful drinking water. Make sure the water bowl is large and in the shade or the water will evaporate or become too hot for the dog to drink. Your dog could literally lay down and die beside a bowl of water that had become too hot to drink."

    Don’t use a metal dish for the water bowl, duh. Don’t tether a dog — it’s against the law in most cities — and don’t try to do them any favors by having them shaved. Their skin will blister. Trim, yes; shave no, bad human, bad.

    And need we discuss leaving a dog in a closed-up car, even with the windows cracked, "just for a minute?" We'd better not.

    Back to the release: “Dogs do not sweat through their skin. They control their body heat by panting and through their feet. So at a certain point they simply can't relieve their rising body temperatures during prolonged exposure to 100-plus-degree temperatures.”

    Seriously, just sit on the front porch for a few minutes. Just sit there and see how fast you start sweating. Then, please, for the love of dog, think about your pet.

    Bruce Felps owns and operatesEast Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He wishes he had enough space to include a section on wildlife moving into neighborhoods in search of food and water during the drought and posing serious risks to family pets left unattended outside. Oh.