In Arizona spring and then summer arrive without much notice, therefore we must be ready to put ourselves in a new state of mind for the heat and associated dangers that it can bring to our pets.
Summer pet dangers in Arizona
1. Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke in Dogs
Fact: dogs do not sweat. Their only means to cooling off is by panting.
If panting does not reduce the body temperature the pet will develop Heat Stroke. The longer hair coat your dog has the more heat it holds. You can clip your dog's hair coat short but not too short as they can also get sun burn and it acts as an insulator!
The color of your dogs coat also has an impact on his ability to reflect the sun's rays. Black dogs of course absorb more of the sun's rays than lighter colored coats.
What triggers Heat Exhaustion?
· age and condition of pet (overweight, geriatric)
· hair coat
· climate and duration of being kept outside in hot weather
The older dog, the younger dog and the short muzzled (brachycephalic) are among the highest at risk.
Short muzzled dogs include the Boxer, the Boston terrier, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Pekingese, Shihtzu s,Lhasas, Pugs, and many more.
If you own a short muzzled dog they should remain indoor pets in the heat! Heat Exhaustion can happen while you are out on a walk or in your own backyard. Short muzzled dogs do not have long enough air passages which can makes it difficult to breathe well. If overheated they can start to panic causing even more breathing difficulty!
Playful Puppies and adults dogs run around their backyards until they are tired and often don’t realize their bodies are already overheating! If they run around until they are overheated they may not make it back to the house for you to notice there is something not right with them.
Dog’s feet can burn too! If you need to exercise your dog it is best to do it in the early am hours before the sun becomes hot or the later evenings when the sun is going down.
FYI: the old, but truthful saying is:
"If the sidewalk is too hot for your feet, then it's too hot for your pets. “
FYI: Do dog’s like to run alongside a bike in the middle of the day in 100 plus temps?
Dogs are not having fun running next to your bike in 110 degree weather and they are in danger of heat stroke, exhaustion and collapse!
What are the first signs of Heat Exhaustion?
- Excessive Panting
- Rapid Breathing
- The skin on the inside of the ears becomes flushed and red.
- Bright red Mucous Membranes
- Noticeable agitation and distress
- Heat Exhaustion can quickly turn into Heat Stroke as indicated by the following:
- Muscle Tremors
- Fainting and/or loss of consciousness
If you’re pet shows any of the signs above you will need to to cool him down rapidly!
Spray your dog down with cool water, not ice water. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the dogs head. Place cool, wet towels over the head and feet and transport to the nearest Veterinary Hospital or Emergency Animal Hospital ASAP!
There are tragedies every year. So please, in the heat of the summer limit your dog's time outside. Make sure he is supervised and not forgotten! Be sure to provide shade and have available a constant water supply. Before you leave your house do a head count of all of your animals! It is easy to get sidetracked and forget a pet outside in today’s busy world!
Some dogs like to ride in cars but don't, even for a second, leave your dog in a parked car in the Arizona summer time! If you do you could be charged with Animal Cruelty! The inside Temperature of a parked car can reach 105 degrees in less than 15 minutes!
2. POOL SAFETY!
Arizona has pools everywhere! If you have a new dog or puppy from the winter months it is very important to start familiarizing them now with pool safety! They may not even know what a swimming pool is! Your old, deaf or blind dog should never be outside without supervision!
If the pool hasn’t been used in the winter months it is easy to forget that your pet may not know what to do. Seeing his human family splashing around might entice him into jumping in. Make sure he knows what to do once he is in the pool. Dogs need to know where the steps are and how to get back out! Please be careful so your dog does not ingest too much pool water, especially the short or small nosed breeds, as they run the risk of aspirating the water into their lungs.
Not only are dogs susceptible but cats are too. Cats have been known to be snoopy when outside. Sneaking into opened garage doors and opened sheds
can be lethal to them if they become trapped inside!
Enjoy your Arizona Summer but please take precautions when it comes to the possible dangers for your kids and your fur-kids alike!
Thank you for being a responsible pet owner!