HPD reminding pet owners about safety

HARLINGEN — With warmer temperatures returning, the Harlingen Police Department is reminding pet owners that it only takes minutes for a pet left inside a vehicle to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation.

Even on a 78-degree day, police say temperatures inside a parked vehicle in the shade can exceed 90 degrees and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun.

Rolling down a window or parking in the shade does not guarantee protection, and rolling down the window sufficiently may allow the pet to escape.

Whether you’re parking in the shade, just running into the store for a few minutes or leaving the windows cracked, it is still not safe to leave your pet in a parked car.

Dr. Shelly Mitchell, a veterinarian with the ArroyoVeterinaryHospital on Sunshine Strip, said animals suffering from heat stress can happen extremely fast.

Mitchell said that not only can animals suffer the negative effects of heat but can also suffer from being outside without adequate shade and water.

Signs of heat stress include heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.

If a pet becomes overheated, immediately lowering their body temperature is a must, Mitchell said.

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