Austin Humane Society working to keep animals cool with triple-digit temperatures

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Staff and volunteers at Austin Humane Society are being strategic about keeping animals cool and healthy with temperatures hitting the triple-digits ahead of Clear the Shelters.

Clear the Shelters is KXAN’s annual adoption drive, which is happening on August 17. Animal shelters across central Texas partner with KXAN to offer adoptions at discounted and free rates.

Landry saying hello, nice to meet you human. (KXAN Photo: Chelsea Moreno)

But with temperatures not looking to cool down soon, staff are being strategic about keeping them cool.

“We’ve seen some animals come in with burns on their little paws before and it is painful,” said Kaetlen Knef, shelter manager at Austin Humane Society. “Before you take your animal outside definitely touch the floor to see what that temperature is because again if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your animals.”

Staff and volunteers keep watch on the temperatures outside, altering what they instruct volunteers to do depending on the heat.

MORE: PETA warns of dangers of leaving pets in summer heat

“We’ll put signs up for our staff members and for our volunteers that we’re going to hold off on walking during their shift so they can do an indoor, quiet activity that will help them with cooling,” she said. Those activities could include letting them out of their kennels to lounge on the couch with volunteers, taking them to play outside in their shaded area or giving the animals frozen treats.

Multiple fans running and air conditioners were on full blast when KXAN visited their office. While they don’t use protective booties to walk their pets in the heat, Knef explained that they are lucky to have a large area with grass and plenty of shade. “They sound fantastic and wonderful and they definitely will protect their feet.”

They also ask their staff and volunteers to watch out for heat exhaustion and recommend adopters to pay attention to how their pets react to hot temperatures.

“The best way to provide the best care for your animal is keeping a close eye on them. If they’re not feeling well, if they’re showing any signs of distress, you’re gonna see that if they’re around you so when you’re outside, be safe, keep them cool, always have some water with you and if you have any signs of concern, you can always reach out to your vet.”

Kaetlen Knef, Shelter Manager at Austin Humane Society

Tips to help keep your animal cool with triple-digit temperatures:

  • Keep an eye on the temperature
  • Plan your day with your pet based on the temperature
  • Go for walks in the early morning before the sun’s out or wait until the end of the day until after the sun has gone down
  • Give your animal access to fresh water at all times
  • Keep fans running
  • Give them a frozen treat (Ex: Fill a Kong with peanut butter and a hard treat)

“Shelters are filled with so many happy, healthy animals, ones that become just like a family companion,” Knef said, adding that they house about 120 animals on average — 40 to 60 dogs and many more cats.

Join KXAN for Clear the Shelters and find your fur-ever fur baby at Austin Humane Society and other shelters across central Texas on August 17.

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