Seasonal Pet Care
Hot Weather Tips for Animals
During the summer, the heat can cause serious problems for animals. The Animal Services Division (ASD) offers the following tips to give your pets the extra care they need during the hot summer days:
- Excess Heat: Dogs and cats do not sweat and must rely on panting to remove excess heat from their bodies.
- Car Trouble: Animals should never be left in a car during warm weather. Even in the shade with the windows open, the interior temperature of a parked car rises quickly and animals can sustain brain damage or die. Call the Prince George's County Animal Management Division at 301-780-7200 to report animals left in cars.
- Shade: Shade should be available at all times during the day for animals confined outdoors. A tree, fabric tarp, or a shady porch may provide protection from the sun. Animals prefer to live inside with their families and are much safer there.
- Fresh, Clean Water: Dogs kept outdoors often knock over their water bowls. A heavy crock or bucket with a brick or large rock in the bottom works best as a water bowl. Remember, water left in the sun gets hot and needs to be changed frequently!
- Grooming: Both dogs and cats need help shedding their heavy winter coats. A thorough brushing each day removes excess hair.
- Flea and Tick Control: Bathing and combing your pet and vacuuming your home helps keep these pests under control. Try to limit the use of toxic dips, sprays and collars, which can poison animals if used improperly.
Winter Pet Care Reminders
ASD offers the following tips to give your pets the extra care they need during the cold winter months. If your dog stays outdoors in cold weather, the law requires you to provide:
- A dog house of proper size that is dry, draft free and raised off the ground
- A wind flap attached to the dog house to keep cold air out and warm air in
- Bedding that is non-absorbent such as straw or wood shavings to help keep the dog warm
- Drinking water that is not frozen and in a secured container to prevent tipping
Some other pet care suggestions for the winter months include:
- Keep cats, puppies under 6 months and small or short-haired dogs inside.
- Increase the amount of their food - outdoor dogs need more calories in the winter to produce body heat.
- Ice or chemicals used to melt snow on sidewalks can irritate your pet's paws - wipe paws with a wet cloth after an outing.
Read more tips for Cold Weather and Your Pet here.
Cruelty and Neglect
The Prince George’s County Animal Control Ordinance Section 3-180, titled Animal Cruelty and Neglect, states "all domestic animals except livestock are prohibited from being kept outdoors when the effective outdoor wind chill index is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, or the heat index is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, as determined by the National Weather Service."
Any person who inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon the animal may be charged by the provisions of Subsection (b). View a copy of the Animal Control Ordinance here.