Arizona Summer Pet Care Safety Tips
Doggone Dry Heat
Summertime activities provide time to get out and have fun with our pets. A few precautions should keep them safe.
Many people that visit our state actually enjoy the heat because of our very low humidity. However, it is very important to realize that our pets, with their fur coats, must also learn to cope. Here are some tips to help your pets deal with the Arizona heat:
Non-metal water dishes:
Metal dishes will allow the water to heat up, and discourage your pet from adequate water intake. This could lead to dehydration. Outside, use plastic dishes for water in a shaded area. Also remember to take plenty of cool water for your dogs when you are out hiking with them!
Always allow your dog access to some form of shade. Very few animals can survive direct Arizona sun exposure for hours at a time. Keep in mind that the available shade will change as the day progresses, and make sure your pet can always stay cool.
Always keep your dog leashed when on trails, and at home get in the habit of
looking in their exercise area before releasing them. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, and cacti are just a few of the hazards that vigilance (and a leash) can minimize.
Sunburn and Pad burns:
The Arizona heat can cause asphalt and concrete to reach temperatures capable of cooking an egg. If the surface is uncomfortable when you touch it, consider walking your pet on grass or another surface. Also, if your pet has been recently groomed and the hair is short, excessive exposure to the sun can burn their skin.
If your dog is prone to swim, remember to introduce them to the pool while you are there. Show them where the steps are and how to get out of the pool. If they cannot get out of the pool on their own, be sure they do not have access when you are not there.
While some behavior changes are normal in older pets, ensure that any medical problems such as arthritis are being addressed. Excessive panting, changes in gait, and even changes in water intake can make the summer heat much more difficult to tolerate.
The first rule in our Arizona sun is never leave any pets or people in a parked car!
Even the most dedicated owners will sometimes find their pets have over-exerted themselves. This is most common during times of greater temperature variation. That is when we start a morning hike at 85 degrees only to have the temperature in triple digits before we return.
If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke/exhaustion, it is important to remain calm, and transport the pet to a veterinary emergency facility. Use the air conditioner in the car, but do not necessarily blow it directly on the dog. If an additional person is helping, then pouring cool (not iced) water on the paws, belly and head can help provide evaporative cooling while you drive.