County reminding residents to be aware of pet health during the summer

Press release from the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The Gloucester County Board of Freeholders is reminding pet owners that hot weather can be dangerous for animals as well as humans.

Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, “Keep your pets cool during this week’s heat. Hot weather isn’t just uncomfortable for animals, it can be fatal. Dogs and cats can’t provide their own ventilation or water. They can’t get out of a hot car or airless room. It’s all up to people.”

Freeholder Deputy Director Frank J. DiMarco said, “Dogs should never be left in a vehicle. Even if the outside temperature is mild rather than hot, the sun shining in through glass and beating on metal can be too much for animals.”

DiMarco is the Freeholder Liaison to the Gloucester County Animal Shelter.

Heat stroke is a real threat to animals, and can be fatal. Pets that have already suffered heat stroke once are more susceptible, as are animals that are very young or very old, have health problems, or are overweight.

Signs of heat stroke include panting, staring or stupor, breathing difficulty, an anxious expression, refusal to obey, warm dry skin, fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and collapse.

“People should contact their veterinarian immediately if they see these signs in their pets,” said DiMarco.

The Gloucester County Animal Shelter issued these tips for keeping pets cool and safe:

  • Never leave an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. The temperature in a parked car may hit 120 degrees within minutes, so just a 10-minute stop may be dangerous. Opening the windows a few inches doesn’t provide enough cooling. If you’re running errands, leave your dog home – in a cool basement, or in a shaded yard with a wading pool. If you’re traveling, make your pit stops at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle.
  • Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times – including in your vehicle when you’re traveling.
  • Outdoor kennels must be well-ventilated and shaded, with water in bowls that will not tip.
  • Don’t exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights.
  • Groom your pet. Clip long coats to about an inch – shorter clips or shaving can leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn. Brush cats daily in hot weather, when they shed profusely, to help keep them comfortable by preventing hairballs.