Protect your furry friends from the summer heat

Digital Originals

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The heat and humidity continue to impact the Commonwealth of Virginia for the next several days. Experts are saying it’s crucial for people to stay cool and hydrated if they’re heading outside, but pets also have to deal with in the hot weather.

“If it’s hot for us, it’s even hotter for our pets,” said Suzanne Cresswell, the Director of Philanthropy & Community Relations with the Roanoke Valley SPCA.

If you’re taking your furry friend out for a walk, Cresswell suggests going out early in the morning or early in the evening when temperatures are slightly cooler. Remember to bring plenty of water along in order to stay hydrated.

“We want to make sure that we keep enough water for both the people and the pets,” she said. “We want to make sure that the people are also taking care of themselves because you can’t take care of your pet if you’re not also well.”

Try to avoid walking your dog, or cat, on hot surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and hot sand.

“Anything that’s hot could burn the pads of their paws. That can really cause some problems with them as well.”

In March, Virginia lawmakers passed legislation that prohibits the tethering of dogs outside during extreme weather. This piece of legislation also prevents the tethering of dogs when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below and 85 degrees or higher.

For those who have outside pets, Cresswell says they need adequate shelter.

“It’s really making sure that they have a place they can cool off — making sure they have some sort of a shelter that they can get under, someplace that has dirt that they can kind of find a cooler place, make sure they have lots of water available, and lots of shade.”

Pet owners should be on the lookout for symptoms of heat stress when the temperatures start to rise.

“We want to keep an eye out for excessive panting, anxiety with the pets, really just making sure they’re not showing any signs of heat stress.”

If a cat or dog overheats, they may come inside and drink a lot of water before throwing it back up. If this is the case, you want to try and cool down your pet and call your local veterinarian.

Photo Courtesy: Roanoke Valley SPCA

Cresswell took the time to remind pet owners to never leave your furry friend in an unattended hot car.

“Unless you absolutely have to, it’s best to leave the pet at home, especially these days when it’s near or over 100 degrees. You have to think about the fact that, if it’s 100 degrees outside, your car is going to end up feeling like 120…125 degrees.”

During these periods of hot weather, it is recommended that your pets stay inside as much as possible.

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