Real news. Real stories. Real voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by

Hot Ideas For Helping Pets To Have A Safe, Happy, Healthy Summer

Auggie keeps an eye on donations to the Hearts Alive Village pet food food bank.
Courtesy Hearts Alive Village

Auggie keeps an eye on donations to the Hearts Alive Village pet food food bank.

Fireworks, searing heat, and coyotes can make being a Nevada pet owner — not to mention a Nevada pet — a challenge in the summer.

The fireworks associated with the Fourth of July holiday can frighten pets and even cause them to run away, said Animal Foundation veterinarian Marilyn Gauntner.

“Create some noise in the home that will maybe down out the fireworks,” Gauntner told State of Nevada. “Do not lock them in a room because if they have a lot of anxiety, they’ll tear that room apart.

She said pet crates can provide the animals with security if the cats and dogs are already accustomed to them.

“When all else fails, call your vet and get some drugs,” she said.

If an animal gets away, Gauntner said owners should be proactive in searching the neighborhood because animal control officials are so busy they might not be much help.

Nevada’s frequent 100-degree-plus temperatures pose more risks to pets, Gauntner said.

“If they’re outside, make sure they have shade,” she said. “If you have a white dog with pink skin put some sunscreen on that dog.”

Gauntner said if a dog appears to be suffering from the heat, cool it down gradually rather than soaking it with cold water.

Also, the recent wildfires in the Spring Mountains could drive coyotes into Las Vegas residential neighborhoods, putting pets at risk.

Coyotes “are a big problem,” said Shadi Ireifej, chief medical officer for Vet Triage. 

“Our animals are domesticated, so they don’t fend off predators they way their ancestors would have,” he said.

Ireifej said pet owners need to be vigilant when their animals are outside because coyotes are skilled hunters that can wait for an opportunity to strike.

Despite the challenges, industry research shows that two-thirds of American households have pets, which translates to about half a million Nevada homes with birds, cats, dogs, fish, guinea pigs, and other animals.

And with so many Nevadans working from home this summer, the season is a good opportunity to play, train, and otherwise interact with pets.

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic and the folks that are staying home is that you’ve got an increased bond with your pet. It’s been a great time to adopt; it’s been an even better time to foster,” said Christy Stevens, the founder and executive director of Hearts Alive Village.

She said that while the heat might limit time outdoors, there are indoor activities such as nose work games that can provide dogs with needed mental stimulation.

Christy Stevens, founder and executive director, Hearts Alive Village; Marilyn Gauntner, veterinarian, The Animal Foundation; Shadi Ireifej, chief medical officer, Vet Triage

Stay Connected
Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2024, Heidi was promoted to managing editor, charged with overseeing the Desert Companion and State of Nevada newsrooms.