Summer care for pets is vital in Ariz. - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Community Focus

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Summer care for pets is vital in Ariz.

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 2:00 pm

Summer is a time for both you and your pet to enjoy the sunshine and outdoors, but along with the fun, the season also offers up situations that can endanger your pet. Follows are a few tips for pet owners to keep their furry friends safe this summer.

Keep pets indoors, but if your dog must stay outside, be sure they have plenty of clean, cool water in a non-metal, spill-proof container. Outdoor dogs may enjoy a baby pool filled with fresh water to relax in as the temperature climbs. Keep the pool in the shade. Be aware that an in-ground swimming pool is not sufficient for drinking water, and a dog may inadvertently fall in and drown while attempting to drink water. As always, watch your children around water, such as large dog dishes and play pools.

Be sure your outdoor pets have shelter that is clean, ventilated and has adequate air circulation, preferably in an area that is shaded all day.

Walk your pet early in the morning or in the cooler evening hours. Never walk your pet during the heat of the day. Avoid the hot pavement, which will burn and blister your dog’s paws, just as it would your own bare feet. On a hot summer day, asphalt temperatures can reach 160 degrees. If your dog must walk on hot asphalt (in the case of assistance dogs) be sure it is outfitted with booties to protect their paws.

Do not exercise your pet strenuously. Avoid extra-long walks, hikes or excessive play. Just like people, our pets can be overcome by heat exhaustion if they “overdo it” on a hot day. But unlike people, they cannot speak up when they need water or a rest.

Never leave your pet in a parked car. On a hot summer day, the temperature inside a parked car will reach 200 degrees in minutes. If you see a dog in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. If the owner does not return promptly, call 911.

Watch for these signs of heat exhaustion: loud, rapid panting; rapid pulse; glazed eyes; excessive salivation; elevated body temperature; excessive whining or agitation and vomiting. Even just one of these symptoms can indicate your pet is in danger. Immediately cool your pet down. Place them in the shade and sponge or hose them down with cool (not ice cold) water, especially on the head, feet and groin area. Give them small amounts of cool water to drink. Contact your veterinarian immediately. Heat can cause organ damage that may not show symptoms for days; your pet needs an exam by your veterinarian even if he or she seems fine.

Brush your pet’s coat to keep it free of mats. If it is easier, have your pets coat clipped short for the summer. To protect your pet, apply a zinc-free sunscreen to their ears and top of their nose.

• Malinda Malone is the owner of Malinda’s Pampered Pets in Ahwatukee Foothills, 4302 E. Ray Road, Suite 109. Contact her at (480) 753-5766 or visit

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