The Government Center is open to the public. We ask that you continue to use the remote methods of doing business, including online, over the phone, and through the drop-box and drive-through window. Please follow the safety measures posted and wear a mask in the building. Check COVID-19 Resources for Government Center Services and Updates for the latest information. As always, call 540-245-5600 - we are here to help.

Weather Tips

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Hot Weather Tips
Please follow these guidelines to protect your companion animal when the mercury rises.

What to Watch for

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Rapid, frantic, noisy breathing
  • Tongue & mucus membranes are bright red
  • Saliva is thick & tenacious (clinging)
  • Dog frequently vomits & has diarrhea

First Aid for Heat Stroke

  • Call your Veterinarian
  • Move dog to cooler surroundings
  • Can be cooled by immersion in a tub of cold water or hose dog down with a garden hose

  • Overheating (heat prostration) can kill an animal. Never leave an animal alone in a vehicle, since even with the windows open, a parked car, truck or van quickly can become a furnace. Parking in shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day. When traveling, carry a gallon thermos  filled with fresh, cold water.
  • Don't force your animal to exercise after a meal in hot, humid weather. Always exercise him in the early morning or in the evening.
  • In extremely hot weather, don't leave your dog standing on the street, and keep walks to a minimum. He is much closer than you to the hot asphalt and his body can heat up quickly. His paws can burn since they are not protected by shoes.
  • Never take an animal to the beach unless you can provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for her to drink. Rinse her off  after she has been in salt water.
  • Always provide plenty of shade for an animal staying outside. A properly constructed dog house serves best. Bring your dog inside during the hot time of the day and let her rest in a cool part of the house. Provide plenty of cool water. Keep cats indoors.
  • Be sensitive to old and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs (especially bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus) and those with heart or lung diseases should be kept in air conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Keep a current license and identification (ID) tag on your animal and consider tattooing or micro chipping as permanent identification.
  • Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals, as poisonings increase during the summer when gardens, lawns and trees are sprayed. These chemicals can sicken or kill an animal. Call your  veterinarian if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.
  • Be alert for coolant leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste of coolant and ingesting just a small amount can cause an animal's death. Try animal friendly products that use propylene glycol rather than those containing ethylene glycol.
  • A clean coat can help prevent summer skin problems; keep your animal well groomed. Shaving heavy-coated dog hair to a 1-inch length helps prevent overheating. Don't shave the hair down to the skin; this robs the dog of protection from the sun. A cat should be brushed often for a tangle-free coat.
  • Take your companion animal to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up, including a test for heartworm if your dog isn't on year-round preventative medication. Have the doctor recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
  • Never tie an animal outside on a correction collar. He can choke to death. If you must tether him, use a buckle collar with ID tags instead (in all seasons).
  • Never let your animal loose outside. An animal can contract a fatal disease, or be injured, killed or stolen. Be sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors through which your animal can fall or jump.

Cold Weather Tips
Please follow these guidelines to protect your companion animal when the temperature drops.

  • Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to fatal infectious diseases, including rabies. Also, cats prey on wildlife.
  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars, where it is warmer. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed in the fan belt. Before starting the engine, bang loudly on the car hood for a few seconds to give a cat a chance to escape.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and easily become lost. They may panic in a snowstorm and run away. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when she comes in out of the rain, snow or ice. Salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt your dog if she ingests them while licking her paw. Also her sensitive paw pads may bleed from snow or ice encrusted on them.
  • If you own a short-haired breed, consider getting a warm coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck for your dog. Look for one that covers the dog from the base of her tail on top to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. The animal could freeze to death.
  • If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him out doors only long enough to relieve himself.
  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to house-break during the winter. If necessary, paper-train your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the weather.
  • If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur thick and healthy.
  • Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses, is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisonings, more and more people are using animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian if you suspect that your companion animal has been poisoned.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. Leave the coat in a longer style, for more warmth. Remember that such a style will require more frequent brushing due to dry winter air and static electricity. When you bathe your dog, completely dry her before taking her out for a walk.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep far away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow in it.