Pets need protection from heat

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published June 20, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 19, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Dr. Michael Liles, a veterinarian with the Liles Animal Clinic in Searcy, encourages pet owners to make sure their dogs or other pets get plenty of water and protection during hot summer days.

Even though summer officially begins Friday, temperatures are on the rise, and furry family members are at high risk of becoming overheated.

Dr. Michael Liles, a veterinarian with the Liles Animal Clinic in Searcy, said he sees an occasional heat stroke in the summer in dogs and cats.

“That usually happens when they are too active in the heat or are accidentally left in the car,” Liles said.

Liles, who has been a veterinarian since 1981, said he advises owners to keep their pets cool in the summer.

“Make sure they have extra water if they are outdoors, and plenty of shade,” Liles said. “Depending on the hair coat, they may need a fan.”

Also in the summer, the potential for dogs and cats to have fleas and ticks increases, and a preventive should be used to keep these pests off pets, Liles said.

Liles recommends applying a parasite preventive to animals once a month.

Summer temperatures are rough on a dog’s hair, Liles said.

If a dog has an especially long coat, Liles said, “hot spots” can cause problems for pets in the summer.

A hot spot is caused by a tick or mosquito bite that escalates into an infected place in a dog’s coat.

“These cause dogs to itch and chew at that place in their hair,” Liles said. “The hair lays down in the undercoat and causes a sore.”

Although exercising your dog is important, Liles said, it must be done in moderation in the summer.

“If it’s over 100 degrees, pet owners probably need to keep [exercise] to a pretty minimum amount of time,” Liles said. “Less time [should be spent outside] than on a 70-degree day.”

Acclamation to the weather also is important in the summer, Liles said. If a dog is used to being inside on a summer day, time spent outside should be kept to a minimum.

Although the heat can be an issue for both dogs and cats, Liles said he doesn’t see the heat cause as many problems with cats.

“Cats are pretty resilient,” Liles said. “The heat isn’t much of a problem with cats because they will go get in the shade and keep themselves cool.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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