Every summer we read the horror stories about pets that are neglected in the dangerous Arizona heat. As a professional pet sitter for more than 25 years, I offer these suggestions for keeping your pet cool and safe this summer:
• Don’t take your pets along on errands in the car — leave them at home. Even when it is 80 degrees outside, the internal temperature of a car left in the sun can exceed 100 degrees. It takes only minutes for pets left in a vehicle on a hot day to succumb to heat stroke and suffocation.
• Avoid walking your dog in the heat of the day. Go out before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Allow your dog to walk in shaded areas and on cool surfaces, like green grass, if possible.
• If you must walk your dogs during other hours, remember that concrete and asphalt can burn a dog’s bare paws. Buy and use dogs booties, which are sold at most pet stores and come in a variety of sizes.
• Always carry water for your pet, even on short excursions outdoors.
• Keep your dog inside if possible. If you are away for long hours, consider hiring a professional pet sitter to drop by and give your pets some attention and a mid-day potty break in the yard.
• If you must leave your dog out, put in a ceiling fan and/or misting system. If you do not have a pool, buy an inexpensive kiddie pool for your dogs. I find they really enjoy rolling around in them and cooling off.
• Always make sure your pets have clean, fresh water available at all times.
• Don’t forget to have fun with your dog on the weekends. Consider a trip to the dog beach and lake at Cosmo Park in Gilbert.
• Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream) is a nice way to treat and cool off your dog. It can be found at your local grocery store.
Follow the above tips and your pets can stay safe and comfortable even on the hottest Arizona summer days.
Barbara Drummond is a longtime Ahwatukee Foothills resident and owner of Home Alone Pet Services. She has been training and boarding animals for 25 years. Reach her at (480) 326-6918 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.thehomealonepet.com.