The SPCA of Texas receives an average of four calls a day reporting animals without water or shelter.

In extreme cases, the SPCA urges people to contact local law enforcement and the SPCA if they suspect animal cruelty or abuse. Most of the time, a dose of education is whatís needed.

Keep the following in mind during the hot summer months to protect your animal friends:

Walk dogs early in the morning or in the evening hours instead of in the middle of the day when itís hottest. Overweight and older pets are more likely to overheat during hot weather, so it is important to keep them fit and trim. Many pet owners prefer to leave their friends outside. If that is the case, your pet must always have shelter available to protect it from extreme temperatures and inclement weather. Also, consider providing a wading pool filled with water for your companion to cool off in during the hot days of summer. Consider installing a doggie door. Dogs can visit the potty area outside and access the air-conditioned house during the day. Provide pets with fresh, cool water every day in a tip-proof bowl. Remember that metal bowls left in the sun can get hot, so always put water in plastic or ceramic bowls in the shade. Keep your pet well groomed, but resist the temptation to shave off all of his hair in an effort to keep him cool. A petís coat can protect him from sunburn and act as cooling insulation. Donít let your dog ride in the back of an open vehicle unless he can be safely tethered to the center where he is unable to reach the sides and can stand or sit on a slip proof, cool surface. Never leave your pet in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. It takes only minutes for a dog or cat to suffer a heat stroke. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a locked car can reach 120 degrees in under 10 minutes. Your pet may have heatstroke if he or she is listless, has labored breathing, collapses, has glazed eyes or exhibits a combination of the above. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, contact your veterinarian immediately.

For more information, visit www.spca.org/ or call the SPCA of Texas at (214) 742-SPCA.