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As temperatures soar, use caution when pets are in car

As temperatures soar, use caution when pets are in car

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In the brutal heat of the summer, local Animal Control officers remind all citizens that leaving your pet in your vehicle for even a few minutes on sunny days – even if the windows are not rolled up – can be critical to them.

Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.

If your pet is exposed to high temperatures:

nBe alert for signs of heat stress — heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.

nIf your pet becomes overheated, you must lower its body temperature immediately. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over its body to gradually lower its temperature. Apply ice packs or cool towels to your pet’s head, neck and chest only. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

nFinally, take your pet directly to a veterinarian—it could save its life.

If you see an animal in a car exhibiting any signs of heat stress, call 911 immediately. Area Animal Control officers will be patrolling certain areas including parking lots looking for pets and other living things that may be in heat distress because of being left in vehicles.

If your animal dies as a result of being left in a vehicle, you could be charged with cruelty to animals, which is a felony and if convicted could lead to jail time and/or a fine.

Here are some additional tips for taking care of your pet in hot weather:

Don’t force your pet to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather. Exercise it in the early morning or evening, and keep walks to a minimum.

Never leave your dog standing on hot asphalt. Its body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.

Do not take an animal to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water. Rinse it off after it has been in salt water.

Owners shall provide shade and a well-constructed doghouse that does not conduct heat for animals staying outside. Bring your dog inside during the hottest part of the day, and make sure it has plenty of cool water. Keep cats indoors.

Be extra sensitive to old and overweight animals in hot weather. Snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

For more information about Animal Control regulations in Goochland County, visit

Information submitted by Tom Harris, Hanover County public information officer.

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