The spring and summer months can present unique issues for pet owners.
 
"The first thing I would tell residents of Fort Saskatchewan is to license your animal," said Matt Lowther, supervisor of municipal enforcement with the city. "That's the number one most important thing."
 
Getting pets licensed ensures that they are quickly returned to owners if lost, and also helps the city to track the number of animals in the community.
 
"(Pet licensing) helps us to identify infrastructure needs," said Lowther. "For instance, we have this beautiful 38-acre off-leash animal park... the reason we got that was because of the number of animals licensed in the community."
 
According to Lowther, the number of animal licenses distributed so far this year is down slightly from the usual number of about 1400.
 
Another important thing for pet owners to keep in mind this time of year is that many unfixed animals will be in heat.
 
"Pregnancies can create headaches for owners, but animals also become more aggressive this time of year," Lowther explained. "There's a great likelihood of an animal attacking other animals or attacking a person."
 
It's important that pet owners maintain control of their animals, especially those with a history of behavior problems.
 
"When walking animals, they need to be on a leash. And you need to make sure that they don't escape the yard," said Lowther.
 
In the event that a pet does escape, owners should call municipal enforcement right away.
 
Leaving animals unattended in vehicles is a potentially tragic seasonal problem.
 
"It does not take very long for an animal to overheat in a vehicle," said Lowther. "In a matter of ten minutes, you could have an animal suffering from heatstroke."
 
If you see an animal in a vehicle, some signs of distress to look for include excessive panting or drooling, a bright red or bluish-purple tongue, and frantic behavior. More serious symptoms include lethargy, unresponsiveness, and loss of bowel control.
 
Residents are advised not to attempt to free the animal from the vehicle, but to immediatley call municipal enforcement or RCMP and remain with the vehicle until authorities arrive.

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