Summer is on its way, which means so is hot weather. In Arizona, the heat can be dangerous for our pets. With their fur coats and inability to sweat as we do, pets are vulnerable to heatstroke and heat exhaustion. As such, it’s incredibly important to take every precaution necessary to help your pet stay cool and healthy during these sweltering months.
Ways to Keep Your Pet Cool in the Arizona Sun
Nothing helps reduce the chance of heatstroke more than access to fresh, cool water. Whenever your pet is outdoors, make sure they have constant access to drinking water and encourage them to drink as often as possible. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to create a makeshift wading pool with a shallow tub or kiddie pool so your pet can douse themselves with water as needed.
Another important factor of staying safe outside is to make sure your pet has access to shade! Shade can be significantly cooler than being in direct sunlight. Sitting in the shade for a few minutes helps them regulate their body temperature—and can prevent sunburn, too.
You’ve likely heard it a million times, but we can’t stress this point enough: NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. Even parked in the shade with the windows open is not enough to keep the car cool. The interior temperature can skyrocket from 80 to 100 degrees in mere minutes. If you need to run errands, keep your pet at home in the AC!
For help keeping cool at home, especially if you don’t have sufficient AC, get your pet a cooling bed. Turning on a fan to blow on them gently can help keep them cool as well!
Keep in mind that squishy-faced breeds likes Boxers, Pugs, and Bulldogs have a much harder time keeping cool than their long-snouted brethren. Dogs and cats release heat through panting, and shorter-snouted breeds have a much less effective pant due to their shortened airways. Make sure to pay extra attention to your flat-faced pup and limit their time outdoors.
Try to take daily walks in the mornings or later in the evenings when the temperature is cooler. If you do end up going later in the day, be aware that asphalt can be burning hot in the sun and even sidewalks can get uncomfortably toasty. Try to keep your pup’s sensitive paw pads off the pavement, or get them protective booties (if they’ll let you put them on!).
How Do I Know if My Dog or Cat is Having a Heatstroke?
Even the best preventive measures are sometimes not enough, so it’s best to be prepared to recognize the signs of heatstroke so you can act immediately to get your pet the care they need. Here are signs to watch for:
- Labored breathing/excessive panting
- Bright red gums and tongue
- Lethargy or reluctance to move
- Either excessive drooling or no drooling
- Rapid heartbeat
- Elevated body temperature (hot nose and ears)
- Loss of consciousness
If your dog or cat exhibits any of these symptoms, get them into an air conditioned area right away and contact our animal hospital at (623) 889-7090. We’ll instruct you on what to do next and whether or not you need to make a trip to the vet.