Every year, the Pima Animal Care Center receives hundreds of calls involving pets that suffer from heat-related illnesses, injuries and even death. Many times, these tragic incidents were preventable.
With triple-digit temperatures coming in the near future, PACC has provided tips for Southern Arizona pet owners to keep their furry friends safe and cool during the hot summer months.
1. Keep your pets indoors.
This one is a no-brainer. By keeping your pets indoors during the day, they will avoid direct sunlight and scorching temperatures. If you can't keep your pets indoors, make sure there is a shaded area outside that they can access with good air flow.
2. Keep your pets hydrated.
Provide lots of clean and cold drinking water in an easily accessible, spill-proof container. Many local businesses leave bowls of water outside their stores for dogs that are out and about during the day, but don't rely on them to hydrate your pooch. Bring extra water if you plan on taking your pet out with you for a walk.
3. Provide your pets with shade.
If your pets do their business in the backyard, make sure they have all-day access to a shady spot outside your home. Keep in mind that for dogs with thicker coats, even shaded spots can be too hot during days that top 100 degrees. You can tell a dog is suffering from heat stroke if they are panting excessively or loudly, are extremely thirsty, or have a bright red tongue and pale gums.
4. Protect your pets' paws.
If you wouldn't walk around barefoot on a sunny day, neither should your pet. Walk your dogs early in the morning or in the evening after the asphalt has cooled down and won't burn their paws. A good way to know whether it's safe to walk your dog is to place the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds and see if it is comfortable or not.
5. Never leave your pets inside a car.
Even with cracked or open windows, and even if you parked in the shade, the temperature inside a car can become dangerously high within just a few minutes. Don't take your pets for a ride in the car if you're going to a place where you can't bring them along with you. This goes for young children as well.
If your pet is in serious trouble, call 911 or the Pima County Animal Care Center's Animal Protection Services Dispatcher at (520) 724-5900 extension 4.