Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Tips to help keep your pet safe in hot weather

Excessive high temperatures can be dangerous not only to humans but to your furry companions as well. With temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees or above the next few days, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment Animal Services Division wants to remind everyone to take the appropriate steps to keep their pet safe. Residents found in violation of the Prince George’s County Animal Code Ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 and face removal of their pet.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • It is against the law in Maryland to leave a pet in an unattended vehicle, even if the air conditioning is running. Overheating can kill an animal; NEVER leave your pet alone in a vehicle, even with the windows open.
  • Ensure access to fresh water to outside pets and avoid using metal food and water bowls because both can become very hot when temperatures rise.
  • Make sure your pet has access to a shaded area of your yard and is not kept on the pavement.
  • When the temperature is very high, be careful of your pet’s paw pads lingering on hot asphalt as it can quickly burn them.  
  • Consider giving your pet a summer haircut to a one-inch length to help prevent overheating. Also, brush your cat more than usual to prevent problems caused by high heat.  
  • Walk your dog in the early morning or evening. If you’re planning outdoor activities with your pet, remember to carry extra water and a container for your pet to drink from.
  • Take special precautions with old or overweight animals or those with heart or lung diseases. Snub-nosed dogs (Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc.) have compromised respiratory systems and must be kept in air conditioning as much as possible.
  • If you notice signs of overheating in your pets, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, get help from your veterinarian immediately.
  • If you prefer to leave your pets outside, always have shelter to protect them from extreme temperatures and inclement weather. Consider providing a wading pool filled with water for your companion to cool off.
  • Don’t forget about your livestock companions. Make sure you provide them with plenty of water. Livestock owners are reminded that each livestock animal, including horses and donkeys, can consume 10 to 20 gallons of water per day.

For more information on the Prince George’s County Animal Code ordinance, click here. For more information on keeping your pet healthy and safe in any weather condition, contact the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter at (301) 780-7200.