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If you are hot outside so is your pet.  So, while National Pet Month reminds us that our four-legged friends need attention, don’t be fooled into thinking your pet whether it’s a dog, cat, horse or even hamster can endure a heat that even you can’t tolerate.

Here are some helpful hints to keep your pet safe this summer from not only the heat, but also from pesky summer uninvited guests like fleas and ticks.  

The ASPCA suggests these tips to keep your pet from overheating.

  • Make sure you get your pet tested for heartworms if not already on year-round preventative medication.
  • Keep plenty of fresh water available for your pet when it is hot or humid outside.  Pets can get dehydrated fast and Fido also needs a shady area to as not to overheat too.
  • Don’t over-exercise your pet in the heat and keep them inside when it is really hot.
  • Do not leave your pet in a parked car while you go inside to shop or run errands.  It can lead to a heat stroke and in some cases can be illegal.
  • Do not open unscreened windows because your pet might fall out and make sure if you do have screens on your windows each screen is tightly secured.
  • Do not shave your dog completely, but a trim is okay. The layer of a dog’s coats protects your furry friend from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats during hot weather is also a good idea and if you do decide to use sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet make sure it is specifically for animals.

Lauren Bullington of Arrow Exterminators with offices in Dallas says experts are predicting a banner year for fleas and ticks this summer too.

“Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases, so it is important that pet owners take precautionary steps to prevent flea and tick infestations, says Charlie Jones, Arrow pest expert. “Fleas and ticks are especially problematic in the warmer months. Time spent playing outside with pets or walking in the woods or in tall grassy can put pets at risk for picking up these pests. It's important to carefully check pets frequently throughout the season.”
Here are five more precautions Jones says to remember in order to protect you and your pets this year.

  • Keep outdoor play areas and lawns groomed and clear of brush, grass clippings, woodpiles and leaf debris.  These are ideal havens for rodents such as mice and rats which are renowned carriers of fleas and ticks. 
  • Bathe and groom pets often and visit a veterinarian for professional flea and tick treatments.  Also, inspect them daily, especially the front shoulders, back and ears.  Fleas are notorious hitchhikers and with the ability to jump more than 200 times their body length, it is extremely easy for them to catch a ride on a pet and into a home.
  • Vacuum frequently.  This will help remove fleas and prevent the laying of eggs.  It’s important to remember that fleas are not only fantastic hitchhikers, but also professional escape artists. “After vacuuming, immediately dispose of the bag.
  • When outside, in areas where ticks are common, it’s important to dress properly.  Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and if possible, wear clothing light in color so ticks are easier to detect. Also, use a tick repellant containing DEET or Permethrin and when returning indoors, inspect clothing and skin and pets for ticks, especially the head and behind the ears.
  • If a flea or tick infestation is suspected, a pest professional should be contacted immediately to eradicate the problem before it gets out of hand.
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