Keep Pets Safe During Sweltering Temperatures

News Release, Calvert County Public Information Office

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – July 19, 2019 – The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory through the weekend with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s and a heat index value of around 110 degrees. The Calvert County Department of Public Safety Division of Animal Services reminds citizens to take steps to keep their pets safe when temperatures are soaring.

“Our pets respond differently to heat than people do,” said the Department of Public Safety Director Jackie Vaughan. “It is important we take steps to protect them the same way we would for small children or the elderly.”

Pet owners should provide ample shade and water for their pets. Any time a pet is outside, make sure it has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Pet owners can also follow these additional tips provided by the Humane Society of the United States:

  • Provide pets tree shade or shade with tarps because they don’t obstruct airflow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat; in fact, it makes it worse.
  • Never leave your pets in a parked car – not even for a minute, even with the car and air conditioning running. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.
  • Watch the humidity. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their bodies. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature can skyrocket to dangerous levels.
  • Limit exercise on hot days. Adjust the intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours. Be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing.
  • Avoid walking dogs on asphalt and concrete. The surfaces get very hot and can burn your pet’s paws. Walk your dog on the grass if possible, as being close to the ground can heat their body quickly. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating and keep walks to a minimum.
  • Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut can help prevent overheating, but never shave to the skin. Dogs need one inch of protection to avoid getting sunburned.
  • Do not rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) Fans do not cool off pets as effectively as they do people.
  • Cool your pet inside. Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest or mat. Soak these products in cool water and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. A cool soaking bath is also a good idea for dogs that don’t find baths stressful.
  • Provide access to fresh water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.

Find information on Calvert County Government services online at www.CalvertCountyMd.gov.

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David M. Higgins II

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in Digital Marketing, eventually leading him back to his passion. David started The Southern Maryland Chronicle in December 2017 and has grown it to become the #1 news source in Southern Maryland.

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