OSCEOLA COUNTY — As the temperatures rise during the transition into summer, it is important to remember humans are not the only creatures that can suffer from the heat.

Pets, especially those which are allowed or kept outdoors, need to be safe from the sun’s rays, which can cause harm and even death to the animal.

“When you’re a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to care for that animal, which includes keeping it protected in high temperatures,” said Osceola County Animal Control Officer Amy Maxwell.

The most common danger is leaving a dog in a car while the owner stops into a business. Within minutes, and even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside the vehicle can rise to more than 100 degrees, Maxwell said.

“If it’s over 70 degrees outside and you cannot stay in the car with the air conditioning on, don’t take them with you. Wait until the evening at least,” she added.

For outside animals, lots of fresh water is key to helping them stay hydrated. Every few hours, pet owners should make sure there is an adequate supply. Maxwell said pet owners can freeze water in old milk jugs or freeze water bowls so liquid will remain for a longer time period. Freezing treats or toys are also a way to add fun into summer.

“They need something to acquire relief from the heat, and even filling up a kiddie pool for a dog to lay in does the trick,” she added.

Hot pavement is also a threat to animals, as the paws and other areas of the body are extremely sensitive and can burn easily.

“If you don’t want to walk on hot pavement, don’t let your pet do so,” Maxwell said.

Instead, keeping pets on grassy areas or purchasing specially made socks will prevent harm.

For pets staying indoors without access to air conditioning, Maxwell said drawing the curtains closed can help keep out the heat. Also, placing a fan in a stable area can provide a spot for the animal to find relief.

In cases of heat stroke, dehydration or other overheating issues, contact a veterinarian.

Maxwell said if Osceola County residents see animals without proper safety conditions or see dogs kept inside hot cars they can call the shelter at (231) 832-5790 or the Central Dispatch non-emergency line at (231) 832-3255.

Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay said situations of animal neglect are under the discretion of an officer and handled on a case-by-case basis. Charges could be filed with the prosecuting attorney’s office.

However, with simple steps, pets and their owners can enjoy a summer of fun without worry.