It’s summertime in the desert and we’re eager to spend time outside with our furry friends! Whether you plan on swimming, hiking, or barbecuing in your backyard, here are a few safety tips to consider before taking on the summer heat.
You and your pet aren’t the only ones’ ready to soak up the sun. As the weather heats up, snakes, toads, and other creepy crawlies begin emerging. Remember to check paws for parasites, stay on trails, avoid large rocks or areas with dense foliage, and keep your pet on a leash during summer nights, when snakes are most active. Snake anti-venom can cost between $450-$700 per vial, and multiple vials may be necessary.
Feed your pet indoors to avoid attracting wildlife! Any contact with desert toads, including drinking water in which the toad has been, can be fatal for your dog. Toad Venom Toxicosis in dogs can cost up to $10,000!
You Grow, Girl!
Fertilizers and pesticides may help keep your yard in tip-top shape, but they can be very dangerous for your pet. It’s best to keep grass short in areas where your pets play to reduce the presence of ticks and other insects. Keep your furry friends out of soil to prevent Valley Fever, a disease caused by fungus found in soil of the Southwest. Treatment for larger dogs can cost $500-$600 a month.
Burn Baby, Burn
Prevent skin cancer and sunburns by applying pet-friendly sunscreen to your animal’s ears and nose 30 minutes prior to outdoor activity. Reapply every three to four hours on sections with less hair, such as dog’s bellies and around cat’s eyes. Remember, dogs with lighter skin and shorter coats have an increased risk for sun damage - research to find the best sun protection for your dog’s breed.
Protect Your Paws
The summer sun can cause surfaces to be hotter than they look! If you can’t hold the back of your hand to the sidewalk for 10 seconds without feeling the heat, move your walks to the morning or after sunset. Letting your pets walk in areas with real grass and shaded trees will offer a much cooler experience.
Avoid walking your pet during times of high heat (between 1:00-4:00pm), especially if they have a short snout, as these animals can't pant as efficiently in humid weather.
Keeping Your Tail Out of Trouble
Animals overheat much faster than humans do. Make sure your pets have access to fresh, cool water, and shady places during the summer, and keep them indoors with AC when it’s extremely hot.
In the desert, a sunny day can quickly turn into a violent monsoon with lightning, thunder, flooding, and violent rushing water. Never leave your pet outdoors if there is a chance of a storm.
Watch for signs of an overheated pet, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, or even collapse. Animals with flat faces are at a higher risk for heat stroke since they can’t pant as efficiently.
Before taking your dog on a hike, make sure it is in good physical condition. Make sure to prepare for your travel buddy and bring a portable water bowl, extra water, and damp towels (stored in a plastic bag). Give your dog plenty of rest time in the shade even if you feel well rested.
Never leave a pet in a parked car on a hot summer day. Even if windows are cracked, interior vehicle temperatures can rise by 19°F in as little as seven minutes. Pets can die or suffer permanent brain damage in less than five minutes at these high temperatures.
Doggie pools allow your pet to stay cool while having a blast! Always keep a close eye on your pet when they're in or near the water – even a strong swimmer could get themselves into trouble. For higher risk outings with your dog, like boating, invest in a brightly colored dog life jacket so that they are visible in case of emergency.
*Created for Trupanion