Tips of the Month

Protecting your dogs and cats from Parasites

Parasites are organisms that lives on or in an animal and that feeds off of the animal. Parasites can be internal (round worms, pin worms, hook worms, tape worms, heart worms) or external (fleas, ticks mites, lice).

Here are three ways to keep your pet from getting sick because of parasites: 1. Medicate before they get sick. There are now broad spectrum medications that can keep your pet from being “bugged” by ticks, fleas, mites, and lice. In most cases, the most effective are prescription medications available from your vet. Heartworm prevention medication is a necessary part of the care of any dog. While heartworms can cause life threatening damage to a dog’s heart, they are easily prevented. Other types of worms must be diagnosed by a vet through a fecal sample. 2. Monitor your pet with annual screening tests from your veterinarian. You should also watch for changes in your dog or cat. If he is behaving differently, if there are changes in his appetite, if his stool is abnormally loose, or he is drinking excessive amounts of water, don’t wait! Take him to your veterinarian. 3. Maintain a clean environment. Make sure bedding, food/water dishes, toys, etc. are cleaned regularly. Make sure that you keep your cat inside and your dog away from garbage, other animals (and their feces), and contaminated water sources such as puddles, creek, lakes. While it impossible to keep pets from coming into contact with parasites, a prevention program and regular vet visits will help to keep them healthy.

From the City's Animal Welfare Committee.

Air Conditioning Tip

When you replace a heating air conditioning system make sure the new system is the correct size for your house.

Changes to insulation or tree coverage can change what your house needs, and a system that is too large or too small will run inefficiently and create problems.

Building code requires a manual J load calculation for all new systems.

From the City's Committee for a Better Environment.

Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Excessive high temperatures can be dangerous not only to humans but to your furry companions as well. With temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees or above the next few days, the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment Animal Services Division wants to remind everyone to take the appropriate steps to keep their pet safe. Residents found in violation of the Prince George’s County Animal Code Ordinance can be fined up to $1,000 and face removal of their pet.

Here are a few tips to consider:

• It is against the law in Maryland to leave a pet in an unattended vehicle, even if the air conditioning is running. Overheating can kill an animal; NEVER leave your pet alone in a vehicle, even with the windows open. • Ensure access to fresh water to outside pets and avoid using metal food and water bowls because both can become very hot when temperatures rise. • Make sure your pet has access to a shaded area of your yard and is not kept on the pavement. • When the temperature is very high, be careful of your pet’s paw pads lingering on hot asphalt as it can quickly burn them. • Consider giving your pet a summer haircut to a one-inch length to help prevent overheating. Also, brush your cat more than usual to prevent problems caused by high heat. • Walk your dog in the early morning or evening. If you’re planning outdoor activities with your pet, remember to carry extra water and a container for your pet to drink from. • Take special precautions with old or overweight animals or those with heart or lung diseases. Snub-nosed dogs (Bulldogs, Pekingese, Boston Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc.) have compromised respiratory systems and must be kept in air conditioning as much as possible. • If you notice signs of overheating in your pets, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, get help from your veterinarian immediately. • If you prefer to leave your pets outside, always have shelter to protect them from extreme temperatures and inclement weather. Consider providing a wading pool filled with water for your companion to cool off. • Don’t forget about your livestock companions. Make sure you provide them with plenty of water. Livestock owners are reminded that each livestock animal, including horses and donkeys, can consume 10 to 20 gallons of water per day.

From the Prince George's County Office of the Environment.