LYNDHURST — As a heat wave approaches this weekend, humans aren’t the only ones that need to stay cool.

The hot pavement, being alone in a car or being outside without the basics necessities are all dangers to pets.

“If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your animal,” said Tracey Meadows, assistant director at Shenandoah Valley Animal Services.

There are three state laws that deal with animal treatment overall and in the heat, Waynesboro Police Capt. Kelly Walker said. One involves care of companion animals by owners, second is cruelty to animals and a third grants immunity to police, fire, EMS and animal control if force entry is needed into a car to save an animal.

Law states animals must have adequate food, water, shelter and more. In extreme hot and cold temperatures, this becomes especially important.

“Be mindful when taking animals in your vehicle — the temperature does rise quickly even when the AC is on and windows are down,” Meadows advised.

If animals are outside, they need to have shade and shelter to protect from the heat. Fresh water should be out at all times.

“If you’re walking your dog, I recommend you wait until the temperature drops if walking on pavement,” Meadows said. “The hot temperate can burn their paws.”

Signs of heat distress in pets include: panting, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, red gums, weakness and more. Animals that are very young, very old, have thick fur and previous health conditions are at an even higher risk in the heat.

If a pet gets overheated, the body temperature should be lowered immediately, but gradually. Meadows recommended spraying cool water on their fur. When in doubt, take the pet to the veterinarian.

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