Animal Care & Control Urges Pet Owners to Keep Pets Safe this Summer

Triple digit temperatures have hit the Valley and Maricopa County Animal Care & Control (MCACC) is reminding pet owners to keep a close eye on pets during the extreme heat. Did you know that some dogs can’t swim? Does the big shade tree in your yard only provide shade during the cooler morning hours? Did you realize that your dogs paw pads can burn on hot pavement? Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind as we head into the dog days of summer …

Keep pets indoors. 

On extremely hot days, MCACC urges pet owners to keep pets indoors. If you absolutely cannot bring your animal inside, be sure he has access to shade throughout the entire day. While a dog house may provide shade, it does not allow air to circulate and provides no relieve from the heat. Shady trees and covered patios provide the best relief from the glaring sun.

Provide plenty of fresh, clean water. 

Just like us, pets can get dehydrated. Provide plenty of water in a spill proof, non-metal bowl out of direct sunlight. Be sure to change the water daily and remember that many pets won’t drink if the water is too hot.

Limit exercise on hot days. 

While your dog’s paw pads may be tough, they are still sensitive and can be burned when walking on hot pavement. Limit your dog’s exercise on hot days and walk him during the early morning or late evening hours. If it’s too hot for your bare feet, chances are it is too hot for your dog’s paws!

Don’t leave pets in parked cars. 

Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can soar within minutes. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. Keep pets at home while you run errands.

Watch your pets around water. 

Not every dog knows how to swim and most dogs won’t know how to get out of the swimming pool. Teach your dog where the steps are located and ensure he knows how to find his way out should he accidentally (or purposely) land in the pool. Don’t allow pets to be unsupervised during water play. If you plan on taking your dog to the lake or on a boat ride, consider purchasing a dog life jacket at a local pet supply store or online. 

Recognize the signs of heat stress. 

Dogs and cats pant to regulate their body temperature but this method can be easily overwhelmed during extreme heat. As pet owners, it’s up to us to make sure we know the signs of heat stress and how to deal with it should a situation arise. Lethargy, extreme panting, excessive salivation, weakness and collapse are just a few of the signs of heat related illness in pets. If your animal exhibits any of these symptoms, apply cool (not cold) compresses and get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Heat stress is a very serious condition that could result in death.

For more information about Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, visit 

www.maricopa.gov/pets.