Critter Talk Column

The heat of the summer exacerbates some of the issues pet owners have to take care of all year, and adds a few more on top of those.

Your pets don’t like being out in the blazing sun anymore than you probably do. We all need to make sure that pets left outside have a way to get out of the sun. That could be shade from trees or shrubs, a covered porch, a dog house, or a number of other options. My dogs prefer to spend most of the summer day in the house with the air conditioning, but there are certainly other ways to keep our pets from overheating.

Having access to water is always important for our pets, but during the summer it is even more so. It doesn’t take long for animals left with no water to become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause all sorts of physical symptoms and then death.

Many dogs enjoy playing outside in the water sprinkler. On hot days, consider turning your sprinkler on for a few minutes for Fido to play in. A child’s molded plastic swimming pool will also give your dog lots of fun while helping him stay cool.

Another fun cooling technique for hot days is to freeze water in plastic freezer containers or in balloons. If you make water balls in balloons, be absolutely sure to pull the rubber off and discard it before giving them to your dog. Then put the ice blocks or balls on the ground or in your dogs water dish. It probably won’t cause them to drink anymore water, but it will keep them a little cooler while they are chasing and battling the ice.

You can also add toys or treats to the water before freezing. It will defrost as they play with it, and the toys and treats will surface.

Ticks and fleas abound in the summer, so it is particularly important to use tick and flea preventative on both dogs and cats. Ticks spread many diseases, and fleas can cause hair loss, sores, and skin infections.

When your see mosquitoes swarming around outside, you know that your dog is in danger of contracting heartworms, because that’s how they spread. There are a number of types of heartworm preventatives, so you should talk to your veterinarian about what would be best for your dog.

For long-haired dogs and cats, grooming is especially important in the summer. Weeds and stickers can get caught in their hair and mats will form. The mats pull at the skin, collect other nastiness, hide fleas and ticks, and can end up causing sores and infections on the animal’s skin.

Our pets love us unconditionally, and deserve to have us keep them safe and healthy, in the summer and all year round.

Corinne T. Smith Animal Center is open for adoptions and lost pet searches Monday through Friday from 1pm to 5pm, and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. and open for animal intake Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

For more information, call 325-646-0617.