The heat is back so Fairfax County Animal Control Officers can again look forward to dozens of reports of animals locked in hot cars in parking lots.
Their advice: Leave your beloved pets at home on hot days.
When the National Weather Service issues heat alerts, they trigger the potentially dangerous combination of heat and humidity each day. This may mean life-threatening conditions for animals left in vehicles or other unsuitable environments; even for short time periods.
The county animal control officers urge pet owners to:
- Never leave pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact police.
- Shade and water are vital to pets. Pet owners must provide adequate shelter protecting animals from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, and adverse effects of heat or cold. A dog house in the backyard with no access to shade does not protect animals from sun.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Take care to adjust intensity and duration of exercise. Watch for shortness of breath and remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn paws; walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Recognize the symptoms of heatstroke. If your pet shows signs such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, fever, dizziness, restlessness, excessive thirst and profuse salivation, contact your veterinarian immediately. Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature; apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest, provide water and ice cubes for hydration, and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.