Hot & Unattended Dogs
Steamboat Springs Animal Control reminds owners it is illegal to leave a dog unattended on public property, whether or not the dog is secured by a leash, cord or chain.
In addition, with hotter summer temperatures, do not leave your animal in a vehicle or an uncovered bed of a truck when the temperature is 70 degrees or above. It doesn’t take long to turn your vehicle into a hot box, and rolling down your windows or parking in the shade is not enough.
Steamboat Springs Municipal Code - Animals
All three instances (Animal Tied Up Unattended; Animal in Motor Vehicle and Uncovered Pick-Up Bed when Temperature Above 70°) are violations of the Steamboat Springs Municipal Code.
For the welfare of pets, rescue and enforcement actions will be taken.
While it might feel comfortable to you, temperatures within a vehicle rise quickly and can often be as much as 20 degrees hotter! Shade and leaving the windows open offers little relief to pets left in a vehicle.
Dogs do not shed heat the same way humans do and some common practices will not help alleviate the heat.
- LEAVING THE CAR WINDOWS OPEN does not keep the vehicle from heating up. Research has shown that even with the windows rolled all the way down, the vehicle will reach the same temperature as those with the windows closed.
- PARKING IN THE SHADE helps but is not the solution. A car parked in the shade can still turn into an oven. As the minutes pass, a vehicle parked in the shade can quickly become like one parked in full sun.
- LEAVING WATER FOR YOUR DOG may help keep the dog hydrated but will not prevent heat exhaustion. As we discovered above, vehicles heat up too fast and a dog’s ability to cool itself just can’t keep up.
- LEAVING THE AIR CONDITIONING RUNNING does not guarantee your dog’s safety. Vehicles may overheat and stall when the engine gets too hot. Newer cars are designed to shut down before this happens (EPA regulations). When the motor shuts down, the air conditioner stops working or may even start blowing hot air.
Steamboat Springs hosts numerous special events, ranging from music concerts to festivals to races. With the constraints of many venues, large amounts of participants and often loud noises around many events, dogs are not permitted at many events in Steamboat Springs.
It’s best to leave your pet at home and to find out beforehand if pets are allowed at the event before heading there.
Heatstroke in Animals
We all like to be outside especially in Steamboat Springs' mountain environment. However, temperatures change quickly at our elevation and often during the summer the temps can rise into the 90s. Like us, we need to watch for heatstroke in our companions. Keep an eye out for these symptoms of overheating in pets, which can include:
- Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
- Increased heart and respiratory rate
- Mild weakness
Make sure you give your pets plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Ensure that your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them and use your best judgment to keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot. Never let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during peak daytime hours to a minimum.