Although temperatures are getting cooler, it’s still important to remember about the safety and well being of any pets that live outdoors.

One of the steps to ensure a long and healthy life for an animal is to provide it with access to clean water that’s located in a shaded area.

“With temperatures like this, pets need to have access to the water 24 hours a day if they are outside. Pet owners need to realize they don’t need to put the water in the direct sunlight because the water gets extremely hot in these temperatures,” senior animal control officer Warren Howell said. “Animals don’t want to drink extremely hot water. The whole thing is that animals perspire through their tongues, through their mouth. So, if they are drinking hot water, there is no cooling down.”

Howell recommends providing three different containers filled with water for animals. One container is simply for drinking water. The second container would allow a dog to place its front paws in the water because it radiates heats through its legs. The last container would allow a dog to lie down to cool off.

It’s important to change the water in the containers frequently because they can get contaminated with dirt that contains parasites or diseases that can get into an animal’s digestive system and hurt it.

While providing clean water in the shade is important, many pet owners will keep their dogs tied to a fixed object, such a tree or a fence line, which can create a greater problem.

Howell cautions pet owners to be aware of any objects the animal’s leash can get wrapped around, shortening it. Once the leash is shortened, an animal has no way of reaching the water it needs and is stuck in one spot throughout the day, he said.

Medical care for pets – those that live inside a home or in a yard – is also important.

“Animals need to have checkups by their veterinarian. You can’t look at one type of pet and say that they are all the same,” he said. “All pet owners they need to seek continued veterinary care and follow their instructions to make sure their animal is living the best life they can. That is the main thing that I can encourage them to do.”

Waxahachie’s city ordinance requires all animal owners to provide a shelter that allows an animal to maintain its normal body temperature, medical care, adequate food and clean water.

Howell said residents who live near a pond, creek or lake could possibly see an increase of wild animals coming on to their property looking for food or water because of the drought the area is experiencing at this time. He suggests residents take steps to prevent unwanted animal visitors by cleaning up those areas and not leaving any food out during the evening.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.