5 drought-related concerns for your pets at Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

5 drought-related concerns for your pets at Lake Tahoe

Gina Kang
Special to the Sun

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — In average precipitation years, I would normally be writing about topics such as "Skiing with Your Pets," but this is not an average precipitation year.

This drought is affecting many aspects of the community, as well as possibly affecting our pets.

Here are five things to be aware of as the dry weather continues.

1. Fleas, ticks, and lice: More cases of fleas, ticks and lice are being found on pets in the Truckee/Tahoe area with these warmer winters. Consider starting a flea and tick preventative for your pet even if he or she does not leave the Tahoe/Truckee area on a regular basis.

2. Allergies: Environmental allergies in the Truckee/Tahoe area can be severe due to the abundance of vegetation in this area. Expect a longer allergy season this year for your pets due to the decreased snowpack. Environmental allergies in dogs and cats can manifest as extreme itching of skin, skin infections, and/or ear infections. Some preventative measures can be taken to prevent these problems. Please consult with your veterinarian especially if your pet is prone to skin allergies.

3. Smoke: Smoke from forest fires can be expected this summer. If there is smoke from a fire and you have to leave your pet outdoors for long periods of time, consider making arrangements so that they are indoors when you are gone. Pets can suffer the same consequences as humans from prolonged environmental smoke inhalation.

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4. Water (or lack thereof): As we get farther into spring and summer, there will be less and less water available in streams that would normally be running. Remember to carry enough water with you when hiking with your dogs.

5. Rattlesnake bites: With temperatures hitting 80 degrees in Reno in March, expect more rattlesnake activity. Rattlesnakes are common in Nevada and South Lake Tahoe areas such as Lover's Leap. Rattlesnake bites are a life-threatening situation, and your pet needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian if he or she gets bit. You may want to consider getting a rattlesnake vaccine if you take your dog into rattlesnake territory on a regular basis. A dog bitten by a rattlesnake must immediately be seen by emergency care, but the vaccines may give you a little more time to get to a clinic.

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS, lives in Truckee and works at the Doctor's Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way No. 101, Truckee. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at http://www.doctorsofficeforpets.com or at 530-587-5144.