Summer weather brings risk to pets
INCLINE VILLAGE – Now that perfect summer weather is upon us, pet owners should be aware of not-so-perfect conditions for their outdoor cats and dogs, animal advocates say.
“With the warmer weather, pets are exposed to certain risks not encountered while spending the winter in the house,” said Pet Network’s Operation Manager Adam Hulme. “And not all of them are indigenous to the area.”
Hulme said that with so many second homeowners who travel from other warmer climates with their animals, the chances of flea or tick infestation is higher.
“Ticks and fleas are rare at this elevation, unless they’re brought in from another, warmer area like Southern California,” Hulme said. “And they may not survive, but they’ll live long enough to cause some problems for your pet and you.”
Hulme said the best advice he can give to a pet owner in the area is to always check pets for any insect hitchhikers and schedule regular veterinarian exams.
“Vets are also current on what is happening in the area of diseases to look out for and what vaccinations are needed at specific times,” Hulme said.
Hulme also warns about the danger some wildlife pose on pets.
“A few of the squirrels, birds and rabbits can carry disease like bubonic plague,” Hulme said. “So, if your animal makes a kill, they should be checked, and don’t touch the kill with bare hands.”
Hulme also warns pet owners about the presence of bears, mountain lions, and even rattlesnakes, although rare in this area.
“It’s best to always exercise caution,” Hulme said. “Coyotes are the most dangerous, they will lure a dog from their yard and lead them to where the pack is waiting.”
Nevada State Division of Wildlife Biologist and Bear Expert Carl Lackey added gray horned owls to the list of animals to look out for, but said bears were really not a threat. Lackey said owls will carry off small pets.
“Bears won’t bother smaller animals unless they are of the sheep or goat persuasion,” Lackey said. “Dogs and cats have enough to worry about from the coyotes and the owls.”
Samantha Loudon, director of the all-volunteer Animal Rescue Foundation, a core group that rescues domestic animals who have been abandoned or left at shelters, agreed that coyotes were the main problem for domesticated animals and added that people also constitute a big threat.
“Besides cars running over animals, some people who don’t care for animals put out rat poison,” Loudon said. “And experience working for a vet in Kings Beach taught me about dogs who encounter porcupines.”
Hulme said protecting your pets can be very basic.
“Check them when you’re brushing them, keep an eye on them when they’re outside and never let them out alone at night,” Hulme said. “And if you don’t have a regular vet, get one.”
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