Correction: This story incorrectly spelled the name of a pet sitter. He is James Sidbury, not James Sidburn.
With sweltering temperatures settling on the Triangle already, the heat is on pet owners to stay vigilant in keeping their critters safe. We asked some veterinarians and pet sitters for tips.
In the car? No way
Plus, it’s now against the law. The North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill last year permitting rescue workers to break into a hot car to remove an animal. If you see an animal in a hot vehicle, say something. If the animal’s owners cannot be notified, call 911.
Cracking a window or parking in the shade doesn't make a difference, said Darci VanderSlik of the Wake County SPCA.
Outside? Shade and water
Even animals that live in outdoor hutches or pens year-round, like rabbits, need extra attention in the summer and a shaded area within the cage.
“If it’s hot out there for you, they’re in fur coats, so it’s hotter for them,” said James Sidbury of Raleighwood Pet Sitting. Also, allow dogs to walk on grass, which is easier on their paws than hot, artificial surfaces. Following a walk, coax your pet to drink plenty of water but monitor their water intake to prevent uncomfortable bloating.
Inside? Close the curtains
Johnson said it’s important to keep birds away from fumes produced by grills, citronella candles and tiki torches.
Get a good sitter
It is best for the pet sitter to meet the animals with the owner, prior to the sitter’s first visit, said Sidbury. This lets pets know the sitter is not a threat. Frequent communication between the sitter and the owner is also important in monitoring pets’ changes in behavior, which can be indicative of larger problems, he said.
“Exotic animals can hide signs of disease better than a dog or cat, and many exotics are nervous about strangers or particular about the way food is presented,” Johnson said. “Leave your pet sitter plenty of your pets’ regular diet, and make sure your pet sitter knows what danger signs to look for while you are away.”
“Don’t put them in a situation that stresses them out,” Hohenwarter said.