Staff Photos: Erin Evans. Laney the snow-white poodle stands patiently as Melissa Walker grooms her to keep her cooler for the summer months. Walker has groomed pets at Animal Medical of Covington on U.S. Highway 278 for 13 years.

Staff Photos: Erin Evans. Laney the snow-white poodle stands patiently as Melissa Walker grooms her to keep her cooler for the summer months. Walker has groomed pets at Animal Medical of Covington on U.S. Highway 278 for 13 years.

COVINGTON -- It's not even the dog days of summer yet, but rising temperatures have made it uncomfortable for most two-legged and four-legged creatures.

Doggie beauty parlors are a booming business and Melissa Walker at Animal Medical of Covington on U.S. Highway 278 is helping to cool off pets as quickly as she can.

Walker said many people think they need to shave their dogs, but actually brushing out their undercoat is a better alternative.

She cautioned that dogs are subject to heat stroke and should be inside during the peak temperature hours. Be sure to keep plenty of cool, clean water available for them at all times.

Dogs can also suffer from sunburn, and Walker said pediatric sun screen can be used on pets on areas where the hair is not so thick, such as nose and ears. But make sure the sun screen does not contain zinc oxide, a toxin if ingested.

Also, summer is a time that other critters are abundant and they can make your pet's life a misery. Fleas are the chief offenders and while over-the-counter preventatives have some value, they are not as effective as prescribed meds from the vet. And don't forget, a single mosquito bite can be deadly as canine heartworms are spread through the mosquito. Preventative medicine can be obtained through a veterinarian.

Other summertime tips for hot dogs from the Humane Society of the United States include:

* Never leave your pet in the car as the inside of a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.

* Don't put your pet in the back of a truck. Not only can flying debris cause serious injury, but a dog can be unintentionally thrown into traffic if the driver suddenly hits the brakes or is hit by another car.

* Watch out for fertilizers and deadly plants.

* Pets and pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a pet in a pool.

* Limit exercise, especially for older dogs, those with short noses or those with thick coats. Remember hot asphalt can burn paw pads.

* Play it safe on the Fourth of July and don't subject your pet to crowds or fireworks.