Keeping animals comfortable and healthy during the intense heat can present a challenge, but veterinarian Kellie Littrell of the Cartersville-Bartow Animal Medical Center advises to keep in mind that "what keeps you cool are the same things that keep your pets cool."
"There are several options," Littrell said, offering a variety of tips on how owners can keep pets cool and calm. "If a pet can't stay in an air conditioned environment then make sure they have shaded areas and lots of water."
Hydration is a main ingredient to staying healthy for all, but Littrell also urges caution concerning insect bites.
"Some of the over the counter stuff isn't as effective," she said, "and some of the products online are fake."
When applying topical ointments for flea and tick prevention, Littrell states that a 30-day time period between a bath and medicine application is necessary. "The medicine uses the oils in the animal's skin for it to be effective," she said, "so a clean surface isn't always the best."
Maintaining yard and house work also is essential to keeping insect levels to a minimum. Fleas and ticks thrive in grass and can easily attach to clothing unnoticed. "Keeping grass cut short and vacuuming [frequently inside the house] often can cut down on fleas," advises Littrell.
Bryan Canty, executive director for the Etowah Valley Humane Society, urges pet owners to make sure shots and medications are current. "Heart worm prevention can also cut back on mosquito bites," he said. All animals at the shelter have updated shots, making the transition into a new home easier.
Ticks, fleas and mosquitoes pose threats not only to animals but also to humans. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, lyme disease and the West Nile virus are common maladies carried by these pests. Early treatment and proper cleaning of the bite area can decrease the likelihood of infection.