Tips to Keep Pets Cool and Hydrated This Summer

Recent Arizona residents and new pet owners may be unfamiliar with the dangers the summer temps can cause our four-legged family members. “Overheating could lead to blood transfusions, uncomfortable toes pad lacerations that could become infected and orthopedic issues like cruciate ligament ruptures,” says Dr. Andrea Strickland of Animal Medical Center of Chandler. Keep your pets safe during the hot months with some simple lifestyle adjustments.

Tip 1: Never leave your pets in a parked car

When it’s 93 degrees outside, the inside of a car reaches 140 degrees in 15 minutes. Arizona is one of only a dozen states so far to enact a law that grants citizens the right to use any means necessary to save a distressed dog. So, yes, it’s legal to smash a car window if you see a dog in clear danger, but first make a good-faith effort to find the owner and, if you can, call the police for help.

Tip 2: Don’t walk dogs on excessively hot surfaces

On hot days, limit walks to the early morning or evening hours and walk your dog on the grass whenever possible. The Arizona Animal Welfare League’s Dr. Matt Goetz suggests holding your hand on a surface for 10 seconds. If you can’t stand it then it’s not safe for your pet. While some paw pads are more callous than others, they’re still prone to injuries such as cuts, tears, fractured nails and burns.

Tip 3: Don’t forget about boots

Young pups and large dogs need to be walked often, so put them in dog booties before hitting the pavement. Some pets may not like them, so check for online resources that offer tips for how to keep them on.

Tip 4: Prevent heat exhaustion

Dr. Goetz urges pet owners to be on alert for excessive panting, brick red gums, vomiting, glazed eyes and a rapid pulse, as these symptoms could be signs that your pet is overheated. “If you have a dog with a short face, such as a pug or boxer, you need to be extra careful about temperatures because they are more prone to heat stroke,” he says.

Tip 5: Hydration is vital

Dogs need approximately one ounce of water per pound on a typical day, and double on a hot day. Try using a gravity water dispenser with filtrated water to keep dogs healthy and hydrated. In severe situations, use cool water to dampen the back of your dog’s neck and paws.

Tip 6: Teach pets to use pool stairs

Pets are more likely to encounter the pool in the summer when it’s hot outside. Whether they jump in intentionally or accidentally, it’s highly recommended to teach your pets how to use the stairs so they can go for a dip and climb out themselves.

Tip 7: Don’t take your dog hiking

Dogs are banned from mountain hiking trails when the temperature is over 100 degrees in Phoenix, so head up north to explore the trails in the High Country. Try the West Fork Trail in Sedona or Rim Vista near the Mogollon Rim. Dr. Stickland reminds owners to protect pets with flea and tick preventative medication.

Tip 8: Use sunscreen

Did you know dogs can get sunburned? Dogs with light skin and thin coats are more likely to burn so rub some sunscreen on their bellies, inner thighs, nose and tips of their ears. Look for “PABA-free” when choosing a sunscreen and avoid zinc oxide. There are several sunscreens that can be used on dogs, but Dr. Stickland recommends Neutrogena Helioplex.