Summer days seem like they’re made for frolicking outside with your dog, especially when you’re in the Prescott area with its wealth of pet-friendly patios and bonanza of outdoor recreation opportunities.
But it can be easy to forget that while our summers are much less brutal than those in the desert to the south, it still gets quite warm up here, and that can have consequences for our animals, especially the dogs we’re most likely to take out with us.
Dogs aren’t as well-adapted to the heat as people and usually lack the footwear and sunscreen we humans use to get by. Fortunately there are lots of advice for owners of dogs and other pets at places like www.aspca.com on making sure they have as good a summer as people do.
- Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal!
- Pugs and other flat-faced breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke because they cannot pant as effectively as other dogs. Along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, they should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Do not leave dogs unsupervised around a pool — not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce them to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid. Give them a shady place in the yard to get out of the sun, be careful not to overexercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- When the temperature is 90 degrees or higher, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt, as their bodies can heat up quickly and paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, weakness, vomiting, stupor, bloody diarrhea, high body temperature or losing consciousness. Seek veterinary care immediately
- Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
- Don’t shave your dog down to the skin. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. However, brushing cats more often can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Make sure any sunscreen or insect repellent you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
- Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach.
- Food and drink commonly found at barbecues can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets and the snacks enjoyed by humans should not be a treat for your pet.
- Leave dogs at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets.