Heatwave affects pets equally, especially dogs and cats

As prolonged heat wave grips Southern California, an animal shelter makes sure your cats and dogs stay cool and comfortable.

Heatwave affects pets equally, especially dogs and cats
Both dogs and cats, in particular, are equally vulnerable to the effects of the heat wave. Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino / Unsplash

As a prolonged heat wave grips Southern California, a Los Angeles animal shelter is making sure its cats and dogs stay cool and comfortable by keeping them air-conditioned and fed icy treats. And with more than 30 cats and 30 dogs to care for, the workers at NKLA's Best Friends Animal Adoption Center are busy keeping their furry friends nice and calm.

Brittany Thorn / Executive Dir. of the shelter:

It's very important to avoid any kind of exercise when, you know, we're going through this extreme heat. It's okay to go out for short bathroom breaks or short walks, but it's really important to make sure that your dogs don't overheat."

"So this is Splitter and he's been at the Pet Adoption Center here for just a couple of days. And we have him outside today just to give him a little bit of exercise, a little bit of a potty break. But we're very conscious that it's hot outside right now, so we keep our potty breaks short and we always want to offer cool, fresh water for the dogs' paws," she added.

An unprecedented heat wave hit California and is expected to bring temperatures up to 46° Celsius in the state's inland valleys and around 40° Celsius along the coast over the Labor Day weekend, the National Weather Service reported.

Heat wave hits California hard

The heat wave comes on the heels of an extended period of high temperatures just two weeks ago in a state that has been plagued by extreme weather and ongoing drought. And with such extreme weather in the state putting animals at high risk, animal shelters are asking people to adopt more animals.

Julie Castle / Executive Dir. of Best Friends Animal Society:

"Since COVID came in and the pandemic happened, our shelters across the country are at full capacity, and many people just aren't adopting in the same way they used to.

"So, we're urgently asking people to foster and adopt these pets, especially during the heat of the summer, because, you know, they'll do much better in a home," he added.

In California, the heat wave will gradually increase throughout the week, hitting the southern part of the state first but then scorching northern regions over the long holiday weekend, the NWS said. Temperatures could reach record highs in many parts of the state.

The heat wave is being caused by an area of high pressure that built up over the desert in the Southwest, which will move across California over the next few days.