Summers in Phoenix can get scorching hot, with temperatures climbing (and staying) in the triple-digits. In addition to being uncomfortable, this weather can be dangerous, especially for our furry friends.
The good news is that most heat-related injuries and illnesses can be avoided with a bit of precaution. Here are some best practices for pet parents to keep their dogs safe during the hottest part of the year. After all, a little precaution can go a long way — and even save a life!
Keep your dog hydrated
It’s important to make sure your dog stays hydrated, and you should encourage them to drink water any way that you can. Keeping their bowl full of fresh, cold water may be enough (try adding a few ice cubes in there). Some pet parents like how fountains keep water circulating, plus the sound may prompt your pooch to head over for a sip. Playful dogs may enjoy spending time in sprinkler, taking some gulps from the hose, or chewing special cooling toys that can be filled with water and frozen!
Keep your dog at home
Your dog may love car rides, but you know what she doesn’t love? Being left to swelter in a hot vehicle. Under no circumstances should you everleave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, even if it’s “just for a minute.”
Prepare for car rides
If you do plan on hitting the road with your canine co-pilot (assuming you’ll stay in the vehicle the entire time), there are a few things you can do to make the trip safer and more comfortable. Turn on the air conditioner a few minutes before hopping into the car so it’s nice and cool when you get in. Also, bring plenty of water in an insulated bottle, plus a bowl in case your pup gets thirsty. On long trips, you should stop every couple hours so both of you can recoup and rehydrate.
Exercise at strategic times
Daily activity is an important part of our pups’ wellbeing, and some dogs are especially naughty if they don’t burn off their excess energy. In the dog days of summer and early fall, save your walks and play time for dawn or dusk, the coolest parts of the day.
Know when it’s time to take a break
During exercise, dogs can overexert themselves, especially if they’re high-energy. Fido may be able to fetch for hours on end, but make sure to take frequent breaks in hot weather in order to avoid heat stroke. Sometimes, our pups get caught up in the excitement and don’t know when to stop until it’s too late. Pet parents of brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds should be especially cautious.
Check the pavement
We have shoes to protect our feet, but our dogs hit the ground with their bare paws. Before walking on pavement, concrete, or asphalt, hold your palm on it for 5-10 seconds. If it starts to burn, it’s too hot for your pooch, and their feet could get scorched. Try heading outside when the sun goes down, and encourage your companion to walk on the grass where it’s cooler. As an extra precaution, you can invest in some pup-sized booties or protective balms that rub right onto the paw pad.