How to keep your pets safe during extreme heat

The strong summer heat is baking the D.C. region again this week, and with all the hot weather, officials are reminding pet owners to take steps to protect their furry friends.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is reminding residents to bring your outdoor pets inside, and consider changes to their outdoor routines during the extreme heat.

READ MORE: 'DOGust 1st' is the universal birthday for pets adopted from shelter

Arlington County Chief of Animal Control, Jennifer Touissant, tells FOX 5 that every day surfaces can be danger zones for pets during time of high heat. In fact, the heat can create a 40 degree difference in surface temperature between grassy areas and asphalt, so officials recommend avoid the latter.

Officials say to test the temperature of the ground, you can feel the surface with the back of your hand. They say If it's too hot for your hand, then it's too hot for your pet.

RELATED: Cats classified as 'invasive alien species' by respected scientific institute

Veterinarians say to avoid heat related issues, the best hours to walk are during the dusk or dawn when temperatures are cooler. They also recommend walking your pets for 15 minutes or less to prevent overheating. Pet owners are also advised to make sure their pets have plenty of access to water.

The heat safety advice comes at a time when many shelters across our area are fielding questions about pets and heat and also navigating their own crisis of overcrowding, telling us pet adoptions are needed.

RELATED: Several dog treats recalled due to possible salmonella contamination

We’re told limited finances have prompted families to make tough decisions and ultimately bring dogs, cats and other pets here.