NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — As summer continues to funnel its way into Las Vegas, temperatures continue to soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people enjoy a day at the pool and barbeques, but others enjoy time with pets.
It is important to remember the proper precautions to take in order to keep pets safe from heat related injuries during the summer.
One of the biggest issues is heatstroke. Heatstroke can be serious and often fatal to an animal and is the result of excessive heat exposure. It is important to avoid strenuously exercising your pet on extremely hot days. Pet owners should observe for signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting, excessive drooling, and inability to maintain balance.
“Be watchful, if your pet shows any sign of heat stress or stroke seek immediate help. Be mindful of your nearest veterinarian facility. If you live on base, the veterinarian facility is not 24/7; it is also closed on the weekends. Therefore, have an alternate/emergency plan,” said Staff Sgt. Rafael Baez, 99th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer.
Another issue would be injured paw pads. Asphalt and sand can become extremely hot due to prolonged exposure to the sun. To avoid the injury of burned paw pads, it is important to put a protective barrier around pets’ feet, such as a bootie.
“When the sun is out the ground is very hot. During the months leading up to summer we will use tough pad on our dog’s feet to get their pads a little thicker. We will also use dog booties on rough terrain [this will be different based on what environment the dog is used to].” said Staff Sgt. Kennedy Wilkinson, 99th SFS kennel master.
It is also important to make sure that pets are properly hydrated and have plenty of shade available to escape the heat.
According to the American Kennel Club, doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat.
“I recommend that all pets be kept inside. Do not leave pets outside for an extended period of time,” said Baez
Another common issue is leaving an animal in a car. The temperature inside of a car can rise to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, and can often result in the death of a pet. According to Nevada state law, leaving an animal in an unattended motor vehicle is a misdemeanor and can result in expensive fines and possible jail time as well as the animal being taken away.
“If an animal must stay in the vehicle, keep them in a crate with windows and doors wide open or a fan if possible, “ said Wilkinson, “Park in shade or use sun-reflective tarp over the vehicle to decrease heat build-up.”
It is important to remember the proper precautions to take in order to protect animals during the summer heat. With the temperature reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit it is important to make sure that animals are properly hydrated as well as provided adequate amounts of shade. Animals are often pervious to heatstroke as well as heat related paw injuries so it is vital to be on the lookout for signs of these heat related injuries.
For more summer safety tips and advice on how to care for your pets, call the Nellis Air Force Base Veterinary Treatment Facility at (702) 652-8836. The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 4 p.m.