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Top 10 Summer Pet Health Tips

SPM Wire | 7/8/2009, 6:31 p.m.

(SPM Wire) It's time for your pets to enjoy summer fun with the family. But be sure to keep them safe from the pet perils that come with the season's heat, humidity, travel, fleas and ticks.

To help you enjoy the summer together, here are some helpful tips from PetMD.org, the 3-D digital magazine dedicated to pet healthcare:

* Water: keep it in multiple locations for your pet. Water bowls can turn over easily, get dirt in them or grow bacteria and your pet can be left without cool, fresh, clean water. When you travel (or hike), take water with you for your pet.

* Do not leave your pet in the car. It takes only a few minutes for the auto to get hot -- even with cracked windows. It also is against the law in many states.

* Know your pet's heat tolerance. Heat and humidity along with age, health, obesity and type of breed or type of pet factor into heat tolerance. Dogs and cats -- whose normal body temperature is between 100 and 102.5 €" do not do well in heat, especially if they get dehydrated. Cats sweat through their paws and will lick themselves to cool down, become inactive, as well as seek cool places; however, above 85 or 90 degrees they can get stressed. Dogs do not lose heat as fast as humans, so heat can become a health risk quickly.

* Throw away uneaten pet food. Bacteria grow faster when it is hot, so uneaten pet food should be thrown out. More frequent, smaller portions may be appropriate during the summer.

* Know what is toxic to your pet. Plants, household items and foods such as chocolate, onions, coffee, nicotine, alcoholic beverages, poultry bones, fatty foods and grapes/raisins can be harmful.

* Keep Pet ID and contact info on your pet. Pets are more active in the summer, chase other animals, can be with you traveling in an unfamiliar place -- and end up lost. The pet's name and your phone number (cell is usually the fastest way to reach you) on its collar can be a lifesaver.

* Check your pet for fleas, ticks, mites. Check and groom your pet daily (cats, dogs) to assure that they do not have fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm (from mosquitoes), bites, or other infections or rashes from being outdoors.

* Groom your pet daily. Grooming your pet daily in the summer will help it stay cooler, provide inspection for health problems and reduce hairballs in cats.

* Keep fish tanks away from sunlight. The temperature of fish is directly affected by water temperature. If the sun heats the water, it can harm fish.

* Walk pets in the early morning or evening. Try to walk or exercise your pet in the morning or early evening when it is cooler.

For more pet health tips, visit www.petmd.org.