Scott Craven, Arizona Republic
Published 3:10 p.m. ET June 16, 2021
The scorching heat wave gripping much of the western United States is expected to continue throughout the week while challenging the record books.
Dogs will do anything for their owners. When it comes to work (pulling a kid’s wagon), play (fetching a ball) or humiliation for entertainment’s sake (balancing a biscuit on their muzzles), dogs never say no.
And that kind of loyalty that can get them in trouble now that triple-digit temperatures are arriving in some areas.
Owners must be mindful of their furry friends when out in the heat. From scorching pavement to heat exhaustion, dogs are every bit as susceptible to the dangers of summer as you are, and they may suppress warning signs until it’s too late.
Maybe you’re new to the Phoenix area, or have focused primarily on your own discomfort lately. Here’s a refresher course in keeping your dog happy and healthy when summer moves in.
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Hot weather safety tips for dogs
If you think it’s hot for you, just imagine how your fur-covered pet feels. Here are a few ways to keep your furry friends cool this summer.
1. Do walk your dog before or shortly after sunrise or long after sunset, when temperatures dip into “tolerable.”
2. Don’t walk your dog right after you finish work at 5 p.m. just because it’s convenient. In summer, the hottest part of the day is typically 2-6 p.m.
3. Do test the pavement with your hand. Uncomfortably hot, perhaps even burning? Your dog will feel the same.
4. Don’t believe that a dog’s pads are impervious to the heat. The fatty tissue provides some insulation, but it conducts heat more quickly than cold.
5. Do keep your dog inside as much as possible during the day. Too much time outdoors can lead to everything from sunburn to dehydration, if not heat exhaustion.
6. Don’t leave him outside because you know how much he loves the backyard. As soon as you’re gone, all those signs you perceive as happiness (jumping, tail-wagging) will disappear as he searches for a cool place to lay down.
7. Do provide shade and plenty of water if you must leave your dog outside. Consider a half-full wading pool in the shade, changing the water each day.
8. Don’t assume a tree or bush provides enough shade, or that a metal bowl left in the sun will hold a day’s worth of water.
9. Do be mindful when hiking with your dog. Bring canine-friendly snacks, plenty of water and a bowl.
10. Don’t think that just because you can hike up Camelback Mountain in the heat of the day, your dog can make it too. Dogs will follow you to the ends of the Earth. That’s one reason why Phoenix closes its trails to dogs when temps hit 100 degrees.
11. Do know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Watch for panting, rapid heart beat, muscle tremors, a wobbly walk and more.
12. Don’t ignore these signs. Heat stroke can be fatal.
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13. Do leave your dog home while running errands.
14. Don’t take your dog along because you’re sure he’ll be fine in the car for a minute or two when you duck into the store. Temperatures rise quickly in the oven that is a parked car, and cracking a window doesn’t help. Do not leave a child or a dog or any living, breathing thing in a car. Ever.
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