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President of Rescue and Petting Zoo warns community, protect pets in summer heat

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-22 18:43:47-04

TEMPLE, TX — The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that every year, hundreds of pets left in parked vehicles die from heat exhaustion.

Experts said, it is not just cars that put pets in danger.

When it comes to keeping your pets safe in the summer heat, there are additional precautions to follow.

Shelby Michalewicz, president of Tiny Hooves Rescue and Petting Zoo, has seen the impact high temperatures can have on pets.

"We've been out, and we've definitely rescued animals that have had heat exhaustion," said Michalewicz.

She said she works hard to keep the community educated. Last year, she did an experiment that got quite a bit of attention, with more than 18,000 shares on Facebook.

"We did an experiment last summer with just a basic plastic dog house," said Michalewicz.

Her goal was to prove that when it comes to beating the summer heat, dog houses do not provide proper shade.

"And we put it out in the sun, and we put a temperature thermometer in it. And we gauged it throughout the day," said Michalewicz.

The temperature started off in the high 90s.

"I know that by the afternoon time, the temperature inside the dog house was up to like 110 to 120. And so if you take a plastic dog house and put it directly out in the sun, and think that that's shade for your dog, it's not. It's actually like a hotbox," said Michalewicz.

She had additional advice about leaving dogs in hot cars.

"If the car is off, a lot of people roll the window down thinking that's adequate," said Michalewicz. "It's not...Sit in that car for 10 minutes with your windows up, and then roll your window down the little bitty bit that you do, and I promise you, you'll be sweating. You'll have sweat coming throughout your shirt. Dogs die and overheat in cars. Children are dying in cars."

So what about hot pavement? She said there is a trick for that.

"Take your shoes off. Try walking on that concrete yourself. If your feet can't bare it, think of your dogs paws. They can't bare it either, especially at the hottest part of the summer. Your walking your dogs on concrete basically burns the pads off of their feet," said Michalewicz.

She called it advice that can truly save your pet.

"It's awful for us humans, so imagine how bad it is for the animal," said Michalewicz.