Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets




For immediate release:
June 17, 2024


For more information, contact:
Judith Hall, Public Information Specialist
Department of the Environment; (202) 369-7319 (cell)



Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets

Steamy days of summer can be dangerous for your four-legged pets


LARGO, MD – Excessive high temperatures can harm humans and furry companions. The Prince George’s County Animal Control Ordinance Section 3-180, titled "Animal Cruelty and Neglect," says all domestic animals except livestock are prohibited from being kept outdoors when 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 an animal may be charged by Subsection (b) provisions. To view a copy of the Animal Control Ordinance, visit

You can take a few precautions to help keep your pet safe and cool during the dog days of summer:

  • It is against the law in Maryland to leave a pet in an unattended vehicle, even if the air conditioning is running. Overheating can kill an animal; NEVER leave your pet alone in a car, even with open windows.
  • When the temperature and humidity are very high, be careful of your pet’s paw pads lingering on hot asphalt, which can quickly burn them.   
  • Be sure to protect pets from heat and sun and give them plenty of fresh, cold water. Tree shade and tarps are good resources and don't obstruct airflow. A doghouse can trap heat and may make it worse for a dog. 
  • Consider cutting your pet's hair to one-inch length in the summer to help prevent overheating. Also, brush your cat more than usual to prevent problems caused by high heat.   
  • Exercise your pet in the cool of the early morning or evening. If you’re planning outdoor activities with your pet, remember to carry extra water and a container to drink from.
  • Take special precautions with old or overweight animals or those with heart or lung diseases. Snub-nosed dogs (Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Pugs, Shih Tzu, etc.) have compromised respiratory systems and should be kept in air conditioning when possible.
  • If you notice your pets overheating, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, or an increased heart and respiratory rate, immediately get help from your veterinarian.

For more information on how to keep your pet healthy and safe in weather conditions, visit To report an animal experiencing neglect or cruelty in Prince George's County, contact the Animal Services Division at 301-780-7200 and select “0” after the emergency message.


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