Protecting Pets during Heat Wave

by Bonney Brown

The record setting heat we’ve been experiencing this summer is hard on everyone, including animals. Here are just a few steps you can take to help your pets stay safe and healthy this weekend and throughout the summer.

Heat stress poses a risk for any pet, but very young or old animals, snub-nosed, heavy-coated breeds, and overweight animals are especially at risk. Even with emergency treatment, heatstroke can be fatal, so prevention is important. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your pets safe:

  • Keep pets indoors and be sure that any outdoor animals have access to shade.
  • Avoid exercise and walks on hot pavements during the heat of the day.
  • Provide fresh water at all times.
  • Many dogs enjoy a plastic kiddy pool with fresh water.
  • Never leave your pet in the car, not even for a few minutes.
  • If you see a pet in a vehicle during hot weather, call Animal Services right away so that an officer can come to their aid. (Washoe County Regional Animal Services dispatch is 775-322-DOGS)

Be alert for the warning signs of heat stress which may include panting, glazed eyes, unsteadiness, unresponsiveness, vomiting, or collapse. If you see any of these signs, get the pet to a cooler area right away. Decrease the pets body temperature with towels soaked in cool, but not cold water. If the pet is able, they may drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Your pet may respond quickly, but their body temperature could suddenly soar again, so seek the help of a veterinarian right away to prevent potential longer term health problems.

Though fur offers some protection, pets can also get sunburn. Fair skin and light colored fur offers less protection. Sunburn in animals can cause pain and eventually skin cancer as it can for humans. Sunscreens that are formulated especially to be safe for pets, combined with keeping pets out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm is the best way to prevent sunburn.

By taking just a few simple steps you can help ensure that the current heat wave will be nothing more than a minor discomfort for your pet.

Bonney Brown is the president of Humane Network and a consultant to Nevada Humane Society.

Events that Help Animals

Adopt your very own Dog Vinci, Cattisse or Petcasso during the Reno is Petown Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Cats: $10, dogs: $50, kittens (under 4 mos.) $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open Sunday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. More info at

Creative Kids for Critters Saturday, July 27 12 noon – 3:00 pm. Official Artown event where children can draw animals for prizes, and create sidewalk chalk art. The whole family can watch as animals create their own art. Admission is free. Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Ln. in Reno.


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