Waggin’ Around the Valley: Dog days of summer


By Hali Emmons

In the midst of one of the hottest summers in memory, let’s go over some tips and information on how to keep your pets cool and out of this sweltering heat! 

Summertime is a wonderful season to spend the warm hours outside with your pets. Some pets love to swim, hike, or just play in the great outdoors. But it also presents its challenges. Whatever you love to do with your furry companion outside, always remember the basics — water, shade and breaks. Just like for people, when animals are outside for extended periods of time, they need to have constant access to water. It keeps them hydrated and their body temperature down. If your animal is going outside alone or with you, they should have access to a shaded area. Shade provides a break from the harsh UV rays and the heat from the blistering sun. And lastly breaks allow animals a reprieve from strenuous activity and prevents them from overheating. 

On a 70-degree day, temperatures inside a parked car can reach almost 100 degrees in 20 minutes. Just imagine being stuck inside with the windows up in that heat on a 90- to 100-degree day! You’re better off to leave your pet at home while running errands.  Hot pavement can also be a real issue with animals too. Exposed to asphalt even for a minute on a hot day can damage their foot pads, which are one of the most sensitive parts of their body. It can leave them with permanent nerve damage and severe burns. Best rule of thumb for taking your animals out and about, if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets! 

If you do see your animal is overheated, keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms include excessive painting/difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, rapid pulse, lethargy and dizziness. These are very serious conditions and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just 15 minutes of heat stroke can be fatal for pets unless actions are taken to reverse symptoms. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your animal has taken ill with the heat. Taking action quickly can help you save your furry companion from a terrible fate. 

Starting July 1, new provisions were taken in Virginia law to help keep animals safe during all extremes of weather and living conditions. You can see the new changes under the “Adequate Shelter” definition in the Comprehensive Animal Care Code. These new laws are going to try to keep animals out of dangerous temperatures (hot or cold), weather advisories/warnings, and lengthening a tether that an outside animal is tied out to. This is a huge win for animal advocates as keeping animals out of these unsafe settings truly helps save lives. 

Especially during these uncertain and wavering times, spending time with your loved ones and furry companions should be cherished and treasured. While you are out having fun with your four-legged companions, remember these tips to keep your pet in tip-top shape! Taking care of yourselves and your pets during the summer is the coolest thing to do!

Contact the Page County Animal Shelter at (540) 778-2101


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