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How to protect your pets from the Las Vegas heat

Dog playing outside
Posted at 3:59 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:59:41-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the summer heat arrives, it’s important for pet owners everywhere to know how to keep your pets safe when outdoors.

Exercise is vital for a healthy pet, but the heat can pose many risks.

One such risk, according to the Las Vegas Humane Society, is how hot pavement can burn the pads of your dog’s paws. A general rule of thumb from experts is to use your hand and touch the pavement — if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s definitely too hot for your pet’s paws.

The Nevada SPCA advises not walking your dog if the temperature climbs above 85 degrees. However, an excessive heat watch begins for Clark County on Thursday, and road temperatures are expected to range from 109 degrees at Mt. Charleston to 144 in North Las Vegas. The SPCA says, during moments of extreme heat, the best time to go for a walk is early in the morning or late at night.

Another noteworthy risk to pets is their ability to cool off, which varies by breed. Smaller dog bodies and flat-faced breeds in particular have a much harder time cooling down.

The SPCA identifies the symptoms of heatstroke as:

  • muddy pink gums (instead of bright pink)
  • heavy panting with occasional frothing at the mouth
  • disorientation
  • increased heart rate

If your pet is displaying symptoms, it’s best to quickly remove them from the heat source, if possible. Additionally, increase ventilation and apply cool water or a cool towel compress. However, do not apply ice, as it causes blood vessels to constrict and it takes longer for the pet to cool down.

Otherwise, pet experts say that it’s best to keep your dog in a cool space, preferably inside of your home. But if you have an outside dog, it’s vital that you keep them as cool as possible with a lot of shade and water.

Another warning that pet experts emphasize is to not leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day. While it is legal to rescue a child from a hot car, only police or animal control can use force to rescue an animal. So if you see an animal inside a car, call animal control or 911.

Last year, lawmakers also passed Lily’s Law, which makes it illegal to tether or restrain a dog during a heat advisory. It’s also against the law for a dog to be tethered outside for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour window.

If you're caught leaving your pet inside a car, you could face a misdemeanor charge, which includes up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine.