First person

Heather Abeita

Hello Valencia County! I hope you all are staying cool in this high heat!

My name is Heather Abeita, and I am the 2023 summer intern for the Valencia County Cooperative Extension office.

In New Mexico, our summer heat can be extreme, and we are known to have a very “dry” heat. Although we have received some moisture early in the season, our summers can range up to the triple digits.

While we may all be looking to cool off during the summer months, it is imperative to make sure our livestock and furry pets are being taken care of in the extreme heat.

How often are you able to turn up your air conditioning in your car or house and relax? Many of us can further enjoy ourselves beside the pool or even cool off with delicious ice cream. That is often not the case for many of our animals.

I am sharing some tips on what to look for when your animals are under heat stress, and I will provide some tips that will help to cool your animals.

According to New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service, there are some recommendations you can take to help keep your furry friends cool in the desert heat, such as exercising horses in the morning rather than the peak of the day, to help alleviate with heat stress. It is important to keep in mind the time of day you are wanting to work animals and to consider the humidity levels.

If livestock, such as cattle, must be moved, University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension suggests looking for signs of heat stress that include panting, breathing with their tongue out, as well as drooling. If cattle must be moved, it is best to not stress them as much since their core body temperature increases with the increase in stress.

Tips you can take to reduce heat stress for all animals

  • Provide fresh and clean water at all times. This includes the bowl they drink from; we want to keep away from algae buildup.
  • Provide shade for animals.
  • Ensure animals are not stressed and/or anxious so it will not increase core body temperature.
  • Feed when it’s cool. The time animals are fed can play a crucial role if fed a protein diet as the body heat may increase with digestion. Consider feeding early in the morning, or later in the evening to target the cooler temperatures.
  • Control flies. Fly control should be managed, as biting flies may cause cattle to group together, increasing their body temperatures and possibly stress.

Signs to look for in animals that are showing heat stress

  • Heavy panting
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Drooling
  • Foaming
  • Restlessness
  • Breathing with their tongue out.

Walking your pet on hot concrete or hot pavement can cause paws to burn and pets may need to see a veterinarian if burned. It is also important not to leave your pets in vehicles as the vehicle can get hot very quickly.

Early intervention is key to prevention of heat stress. Whether it is a dog, cat or livestock, it is up to us to ensure we are doing all we can to help our furry friends that cannot speak remain comfortable in this heat.


Program announcements

To register for an upcoming program, call the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service at 505-565-3002. For more information, visit

  • Ready, Set, GROW! Free gardening classes are being offered virtually. Registration required, please visit the link for upcoming classes and more information, visit
  • Valencia County Extension Master Gardeners is Active- Sign up to become one of the next certified Master Gardener’s for Valencia! Classes start January 2024. Please contact Josh Sherman through the Extension Office at 505-565-3002. Plant clinics will be coming to the Farmer’s Markets soon!
  • Valencia County 4-H Dessert and Basket Auction July 21, 2023, Location: Sam’s Place 544 Main St. NW Los Lunas, NM 87031 (Next to S & J Sporting Goods). The dessert viewing and raffle starts at 5:30 p.m. and the live auction begins at 6:30 p.m. Come out and support our 4-H program to attend leadership retreats, scholarships for county and state events, and much more! 4-H youth and clubs put together baskets and bake delicious homemade treats! For more information, please call Sierra Cain at 505-565-3002.
  • Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center Field Day beginning at 7:30 a.m., Aug. 8, at the Ag Science Center is located at 1036 Miller Road, Los Lunas. Trolley tours, walking tours, demonstrations and talks will be provided. Snacks and lunch provided as well. Look for registration details in an upcoming News-Bulletin, or call 505-865-7340.

If you are an individual with a disability who requires auxiliary aid or service to participate in a program, please contact the Valencia County Cooperative Extension Service Office at 505-565-3002 two weeks in advance of the event.

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Heather Abeita