September Will Be Hot. Here’s How to Protect Your Pets (and Yourself).
Extreme temperatures can be deadly.,
For much of California, the arrival of September has brought extreme, scalding temperatures.
Sunday was the hottest day in Los Angeles in nearly 11 months, according to AccuWeather. Temperatures in the Inland Empire and the Sacramento region soared into the triple-digits over the long weekend. And in the next few days, dangerous heat waves are projected for large swaths of the state, weather officials warn.
Across California, September tends to be warmer than we might like. It’s usually the hottest time of the year in the Bay Area and when temperature records are most likely to be broken in Southern California.
So, given what’s probably in store for us, I’m sharing some tips today on how to cope with extreme heat: Earlier this summer, my colleague Jill Cowan put together this guide for staying cool and safe when temperatures spike. The federal government has more advice for you here.
Plus, I spoke to some animal experts about how to care for your pets when it’s really hot out. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated in 2016 that 57 percent of California households have a pet, though I’d guess that number has risen since so many people (like myself) adopted pets during the pandemic.
Gagandeep Kaur, a veterinary medicine professor at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, told me that pet owners needed to help their animals avoid heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition in which body temperature rises beyond a healthy range. Though humans can also get heat stroke, animals are more susceptible because it’s harder for them to cool off.
“Local emergency clinics, they’ve seen hundreds of cases this summer,” Kaur told me. “It’s not something that’s rare.”
But it is preventable. Here’s what to know:
Be aware of risk factors. Dogs and cats are generally comfortable in the same temperatures as humans. But your pets are at higher risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, or have lung or heart disease.
Dogs with short snouts, such as bulldogs, pugs and Shih Tzus, are particularly vulnerable because they tend to have breathing problems.
Provide water and shade. Always.
Dogs are more at risk than cats: Cats are usually better about keeping themselves cool by limiting their movement when it’s hot, said Steve Epstein, the chief of emergency services at the University of California, Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
In Epstein’s home in Davis, the air-conditioning doesn’t turn on until around 85 degrees, but he doesn’t worry about his cat becoming ill, he told me.
Dogs, however, may chase after a squirrel or want to go on a walk even when it’s unsafe for them. Epstein said he recently treated a dog with heat stroke that had been racing around in a backyard when it was 90 degrees.
Think twice about walks. If you put your hand on the ground and it’s too hot to leave there, skip the walk, Epstein told me. Dogs can unknowingly burn their paw pads on asphalt or concrete.
“If it’s uncomfortable for your hand then it’s probably uncomfortable for their feet,” he told me. “They’re out on the walk, they’re like, ‘I love doing this,’ and often it’s not until the next day that we see the injury.”
Never leave your animal in a parked car. “Not even for a minute,” warns the Humane Society of the United States. When it’s 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30, the organization warns.
Know the signs of heat stroke. In humans, early signs of heat stroke are dizziness and muscle cramps, which can be difficult to notice in pets. So owners often don’t realize pets are sick until they collapse, Epstein said.
Other signs in animals include heavy panting, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst and vomiting.
Hose down an overheated pet. If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke, hose it down as soon as possible, even before taking it to the vet, Epstein told me.
Doing so limits the damage to overheated organs, and can save the dog’s life.
“The sooner they get their temperature down, the better,” he said.
The Times created this tool a few years ago that allows you to see how much hotter your hometown is than when you were born.
I recently wrote about whether this is the coldest summer of the rest of our lives. (Spoiler: It might be.)
President Biden and progressive Democrats are using this summer’s heat waves and wildfires to push for aggressive climate provisions in a $3.5 trillion budget bill, my colleagues report.
Rising temperatures are changing winemaking. Read more from my colleague Paul Sullivan.
During the deadly heat wave that blanketed Oregon and Washington in June, about 600 more people died than would have been typical, based on a Times review of mortality data. Read more from my colleagues.
If you read one story, make it this
Here’s a shocking statistic: Amazon nearly doubled its annual profit last year to $21 billion and is on pace to far exceed that total this year. The company is undoubtedly one of the biggest economic winners of the pandemic.
But Amazon faces growing scrutiny of its treatment of workers.
A bill moving through the California Legislature would rein in production quotas at warehouses that critics say are excessive and force workers to forgo bathroom breaks. The legislation is part of growing scrutiny of the company’s treatment of workers.
The Assembly passed the bill in May, and the State Senate is expected to vote on it this week.
The rest of the news
Mysterious deaths: Investigators still don’t know what caused the deaths of a family found in the Sierra National Forest last month.
Helicopter crash: Five sailors were declared dead on Saturday, four days after a U.S. Navy helicopter crashed off the coast near San Diego. One sailor who was rescued from the helicopter was in stable condition. Read more from The Times.
What you get: Look at three $4.8 million homes in Monterey, San Clemente and San Marino.
Mental health emergency response: Starting next July, Californians will be able to dial a new three-digit number, 9-8-8, when seeking help for a mental health crisis. But the state is scrambling to secure funding to support the centers that would help handle the calls, reports CalMatters.
Prescribed burning: As Western states contend with increasingly catastrophic wildfires, some are looking to the Southeast, where prescribed fire is widespread thanks to policies put in place decades ago. Western states, by contrast, have struggled to expand the use of controlled burns, NPR reports.
Safe space for refugees: Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have requested $16.7 million in state money to help resettle Afghan refugees, reports The Associated Press.
An unsung pit crew: Casino workers who stayed behind while others fled the Caldor fire are now feeding and refueling thousands of firefighters arriving to battle a blaze the size of Dallas.
Caldor fire: The fire that has burned more than 200,000 acres can be seen from space. View images on Space.com.
Tenant rights: A San Francisco couple have been awarded $2.7 million after their landlord tried to oust them in favor of higher-paying tenants, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Recall heats up: The outcome of the state’s upcoming election could be decided by voters in the Central Valley who are exhausted by the prospect of choosing a candidate, The Guardian reports.
Farmworker shortage: Crew sizes in California’s vineyards are down as much as 40 percent this year, a challenge that ranks ahead of the drought, The Bakersfield Californian reports.
New coronavirus variant: The World Health Organization is monitoring a new coronavirus variant known as Mu. In Los Angeles County, at least 167 people have been infected with the variant, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Outdoor dining debate: Orange County City Council members are starting to discuss the future of outdoor dining programs created during the pandemic and are debating whether cities should sacrifice public resources for the benefit of private businesses, Voice of OC reports.
What we’re eating
Thirteen delicious, original ways to eat eggs for dinner.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s travel tip comes from Arin Kramer, who recommends an adventure in Marin County:
The perfect day: Take the whole family biking on the paved shady Cross Marin Trail through the redwoods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park, along Lagunitas Creek. You can bike all the way to the Inkwells swimming hole on a hot day. Afterwards, stop at the Marin Community Farms Stand.
Your recall questions answered
When is the recall election?
Officially, the recall election is on Sept. 14. But because it is happening under an extension of pandemic rules that were created during the 2020 presidential election, that’s really more of a deadline than it is an Election Day in a more traditional sense.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Sept. 14. (You don’t need to add a stamp; you should have a return envelope.) Voters can also return their ballots to a secure drop box by Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. (Look up the ones closest to you here.)
Finally, voters can cast ballots in person — and in many places early voting is available. (You can find early voting locations here.)
Tell us what else you want to know about the recall. Email your questions to CAtoday@nytimes.com.
And before you go, some good news
An Oakland Brewery is now showcasing the irresistible faces of cats and dogs on its IPAs.
Ale Industries has partnered with the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to put photos of adoptable fur babies on beer cans to try to encourage people to take the pets home, reports SFist.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Chloe who directed “Nomadland” (4 letters).
Miles McKinley and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.