As temperatures begin to climb it is important to remember about your animals’ health. Taking the proper steps can ensure a healthy and worry-free summer.

“What the public needs to know, as the weather changes, they don’t want to forget their animals. Whenever it gets to the point where they need air conditioning, just keep in mind that their animals are being exposed to the sunlight and they are going to be extremely hot too,” animal control officer Warren Howell said.

“We are hoping that the public will make sure their animal has plenty of water and that they feed them adequately,” he said. “Also they are supposed to provide shelter for their animals if they are going to leave them outside for more than three hours.”

Howell said the law defines shelter as any type of construction that allows the animal to maintain its normal body temperature and protects it from the elements such as sun, rain and hail. Proper yard maintenance is also a key to ensure an animal stays free from fleas or ticks.

Dr. Richard Dixon with the American Veterinary Medical Association said a pet owner can make a positive difference in the health of his or her pet by controlling fleas and ticks.

“Fleas and ticks are common problems for pets in the warm months of the years. They cause skin irritations, allergies, anemia and serve as a transport host for parasites and diseases. Ten adult female fleas can multiply to an estimated quarter of a million offspring in about 30 days. Ticks are even more prolific,” Dixon said.

“Control measures require regular treatment of the animal and its surroundings,” he said. “Traditional insecticidal sprays, dips and dusts are still available but the new once-a-month flea and tick control products are proving to be superior weapons in the battle. If your pet suffers from infestations of fleas and ticks, consult with your veterinarian about methods of control that are appropriate for your situation.”

Maintaining current vaccinations on your animal is another important step to ensure its continued health. In some cases (rabies, for example), vaccinating a pet also protects people from the disease. If an unvaccinated pet develops a disease, the treatment can become expensive and many of the diseases can prove fatal, even if treated.

Howell said an added benefit from keeping your yard maintained is that it helps keep rodents and snakes away from the home.

“Rodents and snakes like to come in from the wetlands into the housing areas looking for food,” he said. “Keeping the lawn cut down low helps to keep snakes away because they don’t like to go through open fields. They like to stay in the tall grasses where it is cool and there is a lot of moisture.”

In animal control calls involving tall grass and snakes about 40 percent of the time the snakes turn out to be venomous, he said.

For questions, concerns or advice on proper animal care, contact the staff at the city animal shelter at 972-937-1802.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.