Arizona is not always the kindest place for dogs and dog walkers. For most of the year, we’re very fortunate. We have more days of sunshine than many other states which allows us to take our furry companions with us hiking, bike riding, swimming, and a variety of other outside pursuits. But realize that the weather and other things here pose very real threats for dogs!
What are some of those potential dangers?
- Rattlesnakes – yes when you take your dog out into the great outdoors for a wonderful hike into our mountains, this is a potential hazard. Dogs are exploratory by nature and sniffing is what they do. If they happen to sniff something in a bush where a rattlesnake or other snake is, they run the risk of being bitten. If you’re going hiking it’s a good idea to keep your dog on leash or long leader so that you have some control over where they decide to put their snouts. Snake bites can be fatal.
- Scorpions – Same as above. While most scorpion stings are not fatal to dogs, they do hurt and can cause numbness and swelling. Again leashing your pup is the best preventative. Most scorpions are not out in the heat of the day so that’s helpful too.
But the number one potential danger to dogs and dog walkers in Arizona is:
3. heat stroke. This condition is rapid and can be fatal.
Just this week one of our clients tragically lost their dog due to heat stroke. 🙁
It simply can’t be stated enough times for those of us in Arizona-our heat is and can be deadly. It’s always best to exercise your dogs in the very early morning or late evening hours once the sun has gone down. If the temperature is already over 90 degrees no matter the hour, then no more than a short ten minute walk is advised. Not only is the heat a factor, but the sidewalk and street temperature is simply too hot for dogs’ paws, as is the heat that radiates off surfaces.
Dogs do not have a switch that tells them, wow, I’m hot and I need to stop playing, running, exercising. They will go and go and go and GO. Even for clients whose dogs like to swim and have pools, I still do not exercise the dogs more than 15 or so minutes. They can over-exert themselves even in water!!!
Educate yourself on signs & symptoms of heat stroke here: www.crittercaretakers.com/heatstroke
Learn what to do if it is suspected and how to prevent heat stroke: www.crittercaretakers.com/heatstrokeprevention
Your Mesa dog walkers pay particular attention to outdoor temperatures in the summer especially. Please be careful with your beloved dogs while walking them or exercising them. My heart goes out to my clients who lost their girl.