Alexandria: Summer Tips for Pet Lovers

Alexandria: Summer Tips for Pet Lovers

From the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

— Be sure your pets have access to fresh water and shelter from the sun. Fair-skinned dogs or those with light coats and exposed skin should wear sunscreen or be kept inside during peak hours of sun exposure.

  • Never leave your pet in the car, even for a minute, when temperatures are hot. The inside of a car heats up very quickly and can cause irreversible damage, even death, to the animal in only a few minutes. The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) suggests that before you go out, you check with the shops you plan on visiting to determine if they are dog-friendly. If you do find yourself needing to leave a dog in the car for a few minutes, leave the car running with the air-conditioning on and lock it. (Bring a spare key with you so you are not locked out.) Better yet, leave your dog at home if there is a chance he'd be left in the car. Besides being cruel, leaving a dog inside a car when temperatures are above 70 degrees F is against the law: It is a violation of city law 5-7-58 "Dogs Left in Cars Prohibited." AWLA Animal Services addresses each call received about an animal left inside a vehicle and takes all appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the animals.
  • Summer is kitten season, and that means a flood of very young kittens at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter in need of special care. For kittens — and puppies — who are just days old and too young to be put up for adoption, the AWLA often turns to individuals who can take the animals into their homes for a few weeks to help them gain weight and get a healthy start on life. Foster caretakers are needed year round. Besides the youngest creatures, fosterers take in animals with medical conditions, senior animals and those that need a break from the confinement of the shelter. AWLA provides all food, supplies and veterinary care for the fostered animals. Anyone interested in becoming a fosterer should fill out the application on the AWLA website and attend information sessions at the shelter. Go to:
  • This time of year wild animals are having their young and birds are learning to fly. Citizens who encounter baby wild animals should generally leave them alone — chances are their mothers are nearby, likely foraging for food. For example, AWLA recently had a call about a helpless- looking fawn seen in a garden. By morning, the parent had come for the baby. If an animal appears injured or in distress, call the AWLA for help at 703-746-4774.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, operates the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter and Animal Services for the City of Alexandria. Residents’ financial support is appreciated. For more information, visit at