Help pets – and their people, too

Above-average temperatures in all 50 states are predicted for well into October, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center. That’s bad news for pets and people with little protection from the heat.

Heat can be a big challenge, especially in urban areas, says Lori Weise, founder of Downtown Dog Rescue (DDR) in Los Angeles.

“A person might be able to go inside a building that’s air conditioned, but they’re not going to be able to bring their dog or cat inside.”

You may see homeless people with pets regularly as you walk city streets. Keeping a bottle of water on hand to give away is a generous gesture that doesn’t cost much or take much time. Including a silicone collapsible pet bowl is a nice touch; they’re available in sets of five for less than $12.

Cooling bandanas for any size pet and cooling vests for small pets are available for less than $10. Carry a couple with you to give away.

Ask what they need. If a grocery store or pet supply store is on your way, offer to buy some water they can share or a bag of food for the pet.

It’s not just homeless people who need help. Families who are struggling because of various issues may need help with pet care.

Options for shelter include looking on Craigslist for a gently used plastic doghouse that you can offer. It’s also a good resource for a child’s pool that the dog can splash in.

Ask senior neighbors to see if they need help walking their dog.

“I think people get weird about doing things like that,” Weise says. “But you can offer in a way that’s not insulting or trying to teach the person a lesson, just saying, ‘I would love the honor of treating you to this.’”

Pet Connection is produced by a team of experts headed by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker and Kim Campbell Thornton