Tips for keeping your pets safe during this weekend’s extreme heat

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 25, 2021

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Animal Services Division

With our region bracing for a record-breaking heatwave this weekend, Washington County Animal Services is sharing resources and tips for community members to keep their pets safe and healthy. 

The safest thing for your pets is to leave them at home. If you must take your pet with you, never leave them in a hot vehicle. Car interiors can reach deadly temperatures in a matter of minutes even with the windows cracked. If you see an animal in a hot car, call for help. During Washington County Animal Services’ regular hours of Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., call the shelter at 503-846-7041 to report an animal in a hot car. For all other times, call the police or 911 if the animal is in obvious distress. Animal Services and law enforcement officers have the legal authority and won’t hesitate to break into a car if an animal’s life is in immediate danger. 

If you have a pet and need a place to stay cool, the Wingspan Event and Conference Center, located at 801 NE 34th Avenue in Hillsboro, will be open as a pet-friendly cooling center Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Be sure to bring your pet in a crate, along with a collar, leash, ID tags, comfort items, food and bowls. Water will be available.

The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter provides care for stray dogs. If you see a lost dog roaming around in the heat, call Animal Services for assistance. Outside of the shelter’s normal business hours, call Washington County non-emergency dispatch at 503-629-0111. The dog will then be brought to the safe, air-conditioned shelter where Animal Services staff will work to reunite it with its owner. 

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe When It’s Hot:

  • Consider your pet's individual needs. Some pets are especially at risk. Persian cats and dogs with flat faces such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers don't handle heat very well. Older pets, overweight pets and those with medical issues also have trouble on hot days. Even a short walk or too much sun can result in a medical emergency.
  • Don't walk your dog in the heat of the day. In addition to the danger of heat stroke, hot sidewalks and asphalt can burn the bottom of your pet's paws. If you must take your dog for a mid-day potty break, walk them on grass or dirt. You can test the surface you are walking on by placing your palm on it for a few seconds. If it is uncomfortable for you, then it is too hot for your dog’s feet. You can test the temperature of the ground by pressing your palm against it for a few seconds. If it is uncomfortable for you, then it is too hot for your dog’s feet.
  • Call your own veterinarian or a 24-hour emergency vet right away if you think your pet has become overheated, even if your pet appears to be okay after cooling back down. Internal organs can be affected, and your animal could have secondary effects from the exposure. 
  • Keep all your animals in the coolest place available. Bring pets inside where temperatures are lower. Ensure that livestock have plenty of cool water and shade. Consider fans or other cooling devices for barns and stables. 

The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Avenue in Hillsboro.

Friday and Monday: Randy Covey, Manager of Animal Services, 503-846-7043
Saturday: Stacy Smejkal, Animal Services Field Supervisor, 503-846-7043