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HRA Issues Extreme Weather Pet Advisory

The Humane Rescue Alliance Humane Law Enforcement and Animal Control division has issued the following Extreme Weather Pet Advisory:

The Washington, DC region is expected to experience extreme heat this week, with temperatures above 90 degrees. It is imperative that all pet owners provide proper care for pets, as outdoor conditions are not appropriate for companion animals.

Residents are advised to bring their pets indoors and to limit outdoor time. District of Columbia law states that an animal cannot be outdoors for more than 15 minutes during periods of extreme weather without human accompaniment or adequate shelter. Extreme weather means temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the temperature is above 80 degrees, a dog kept outside must have access to adequate shelter. This means a dog must have access to a shelter shaded by trees, a roof, a tarp, or a tarp-like device.

DC law also states that animals shall not be left alone in a vehicle in such a way that endangers the animal’s health or safety.

If residents witness an animal emergency, including animals left outside in extreme temperatures, please call 202-576-6664.

HRA advises pet owners to be aware of the following 10 important tips in dealing with extreme heat:

  1. Keep your pets indoors when temperatures are extreme and in the shade when they are outdoors.
  2. Walk your pets early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  3. Give pets plenty of water to avoid dehydration. When you walk your pet or take your pet outside, carry water with you.
  4. Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Temperatures in cars can increase rapidly and become lethal.
  5. Animals with short noses such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers and Persian cats, are especially vulnerable in the heat. Dogs and cats cool themselves by breathing through their mouths, but those with flat faces cannot cool as quickly and need extra attention.
  6. If your pet is panting excessively, drooling, struggling to walk, is lethargic or has bloody diarrhea or vomiting, know that that these are potentially signs of overheating. 
  7. Windows in the home that are open should have screens. Pets can fall out of open, unsecured windows.
  8. Be careful with dogs on asphalt in the heat.  Not only are their paws sensitive but because their bodies are closer to the asphalt, they can overheat more easily.
  9. As always, if you think your pet is in distress due to the heat, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
  10. If you are hot, your pet is too! 

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