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Help pets beat the heat
by Stephen Ward pets@dailysparkstribune.com
Jun 29, 2011 | 1467 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne
Tasha, an 8 year old mixed breed dog, stays cool Tuesday afternoon at the Sparks Marina dog park. Tasha along with other local dogs in the community uses the safe and friendly confines of the dog park as a way to cool off during the dog days of summer.
Tribune/John Byrne Tasha, an 8 year old mixed breed dog, stays cool Tuesday afternoon at the Sparks Marina dog park. Tasha along with other local dogs in the community uses the safe and friendly confines of the dog park as a way to cool off during the dog days of summer.
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SPARKS — The summer heat has officially settled in the region, and with it comes the perils of dehydration, sunburns and overexertion.

But while most people are just starting to get accustomed to the shift in temperature, it is important to remember our four-legged companions require adjustments to their routines as well.

Dr. Judson Pierce, who has been a veterinarian in the area since 1964, took time out of his schedule Monday at the Reno Animal Hospital to highlight the numerous hazards dogs face this time of year.

Pierce warned how short-nosed breeds are exceptionally susceptible to overheating during the summer. Because of their soft palates, pugs, Boston terriers and other dogs can get too hot and have trouble breathing during the summer. Pierce said older dogs and those with longer hair also are in danger of becoming too hot.

“When dogs get old, weather changes become difficult for them to handle,” Pierce said.

Among some other concerns Pierce had were dogs who haven’t exercised in a while being overworked, resulting in either heat exhaustion or the pads on the bottoms of their feet wearing off.

“When they’re not used and they overdo it, dogs will be right down to the blood with their pads,” said Pierce, who has already treated four dogs this season with burns on their pads from walking on hot cement.

Pierce’s final warning — to be careful of foxtails — also was mentioned by veterinarian John Crumley at Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital. Crumley said his hospital has already seen 15 cases of animals with foxtails caught in their skin this summer.

Although he touched on problems dogs face in the heat, Crumley’s recommendations were geared more toward cat owners. Before suggesting how to keep cats safe this time of year, however, Crumley noted that indoor cats on average live twice as long as cats who spend their time outdoors.

For those that do live outside, Crumley said having slip-away collars can help cats escape if they get caught on a tree or branch. Another suggestion was having a patio area wrapped in chicken wire for your cat to play, satisfying their desire to explore without them venturing too far away.

Finally, both veterinarians recommended checking your pet’s water bowl frequently and making sure they have plenty of shade to retreat to when the sun’s warmth becomes overwhelming.
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Help pets beat the heat by Stephen Ward pets@dailysparkstribune.com


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