Residents aren’t the only ones looking to escape the summer heat; pets are just as susceptible to the hot climate. An Arlington animal expert shares tips on taking care of pets in the heat.

Brandi Alcantar, animal cruelty investigator for the City of Arlington, said high temperatures create a lot of dangers for pets. Heat-related injuries are most often seen in the summer months.

The most important tip she has for keeping pets cool is to keep them inside, Alcantar said.

Ventilation is needed if residents choose to keep their animals in the garage. She suggests people keep the garage slightly open so there’s air circulation. Air conditioning units are ideal, but a fan can work, too.

People should never leave their animals in cars because when the weather outside gets above 70 degrees, temperatures inside the car can get up to 100 degrees in mere minutes, she said.

“It's 160, 180 degrees inside that car within just a short period of time, and animals will perish in vehicles when left in there,” Alcantar said.

Keeping animals hydrated in the summer months is important, so fresh clean water should be provided, she said.

Alcantar suggests putting water bowls in shaded areas. She has seen people freeze their water bowls to let it melt throughout the day, providing cold water for their animals as temperatures rise.

Dogs like to lick and chew ice, so it’s an easy way to keep the animal cool and occupied, she said.

Another concern is that dogs might drown in pools. She said dogs might look for a way to cool down by laying in the water, but these animals might not understand how deep the pool is or how to swim.

Cats are less likely to seek out a pool than dogs, but residents should make sure their pets are not unsupervised near the pool, she said.

Pet owners should also be aware of parasites such as mosquitoes and flies in the summer because those insects can bite pets and cause infections and diseases like West Nile disease, which is common in Arlington, Alcantar said.

Vaccinations are important to help prevent diseases, she said. Arlington has multiple low cost veterinarian clinics that are affordable options for people who can’t afford a veterinarian, she said.

Some low cost clinics she recommends are the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, Penny Paws and low cost makeshift clinics that appear on weekends in places with big parking lots like Walgreens and CVS.

“We want to stress to owners that pets are a lifelong decision. Once you get a pet, it's your responsibility to keep that animal until it passes away,” she said.

@MandyHuynh12

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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