RENO — Nevada this time of year is hot. There is no getting around that fact, and as a pet owner it is very easy for me to shed heavy winter clothing and stay in a cool, air-conditioned building or take a dip in a pool. I drink a lot of ice water, too.
But as a responsible and devoted pet owner, I am also aware of many other steps I take to ensure that my pet is cool, comfortable and safe during a hot Nevada summer. Pets are a privilege, and as such my animals deserve special attention during a severe heat wave. Here are some of the ways I pay extra attention to my pets’ comfort in the heat:
Set out fresh cool water several times a day: If your pet is outside, be sure that he or she is drinking the water. If the bowl stays full, then your dog or cat likely thinks it is too hot. They have different senses of taste and temperature, but all animals like fresh, cool water.
Be sure you have a shady spot for your outside animals: The best is approach is not to leave your pets outside for long periods of time due to the heat and the natural predators. With that said, it is sometimes best to allow your animal some outside time. This is great as long as there is adequate shade at all times.
Provide a summer haircut: Is your pet a breed from some other climate who brought a heavy coat from home? In our hot summer months, a cool summer cut can be a fashion statement and a lifesaver.
Plan to take early morning or evening walks with your dog: Sidewalks are cooler and the sun is less intense when you are not walking or hiking during the midday hours. Both you and your pet will appreciate your timing.
Redecorate your house or yard with toys and gadgets for your pet: Kiddie pools for cooling down a warm dog are an easy and fun way to provide for your animal. There are also cooling beds, vests and collars for dogs that use new technology to ease the heat. Another option is to set up an actual fan.
With these summer tips in mind, you also might want to keep an eye out for signs that your pet or any other animal around you is not overheating. Excessive panting, increased heart rate, drooling, lack of coordination and vomiting are just some of the signs that an animal is in distress. If you suspect any pet may be suffering from heat exhaustion, lower their body temperature by placing a cold towel or ice pack on their head, neck and chest and immerse them in cool (not cold) water. And call your veterinarian immediately! The Animal Emergency Center at 6425 S. Virginia St. in Reno is open Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., Friday from 6 p.m. to Monday 8 a.m. and 24 hours on holidays. You can call them at 851-3600.
Bring your dog, or self-assured cat, to Artown’s 12th Annual Art Paws on Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm for more canine fun, training, and contests. Read more about Artown’s “Only Bring Your Dog” Day at www.ArtPawsReno.com.