New rules for hiking with dogs in Phoenix

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Starting in July, people can no longer hike in the Phoenix mountain parks and preserves with their dog if the temperature is 100 degrees or more.

Under the pilot program, which went into effect July 1 and runs through Sept. 1, someone who disobeys the rule could be cited for a Class One misdemeanor, be fined up to $2,500 and receive up to six months jail time. Phoenix officials say they will emphasize the educational aspect of the program and not the punitive measures.

Off limits Phoenix trails

In addition, the city has made Cholla Trail in central phoenix off limits to dogs altogether. Too many dogs have been off leash or in danger for heat distress on that particular trail, city officials say. Also, many people didn’t pick up after their dogs either.

Cholla, Piestewa Peak and Echo Canyon trails are Phoenix’s no-dogs-allowed trails. Anyone with a dog on Cholla trail faces the same fines and punishment as those who hike with their dogs if it is more than 100 degrees outside.

Phoenix officials said they have been more reports of dogs being in distress on the trails during this really hot summer. Already this year, six people have died on trails and there have been anecdotal reports of dogs dying but there are few statistics to back that up.

Heat is deadly for dogs

The city of Glendale reported in 2011 that three dogs passed away on trails. The only way the city knew about those deaths was because the fire department was called to help the dogs. “For everyone incident reported, we believe there are dozens of animal fatalities that we don’t hear about,’’ said Sue Breding, Glendale spokeswoman.

For many, it is really a matter of educating people how dangerous the Phoenix summertime heat is to pets. The Arizona Humane Society says it receives up to 50 calls a day during the summer for animal rescues and investigations and up to half of those involve no shelter or water for animals outside.



Stay-cations for you and your dog

Is it time to sneak away with the dog to a Phoenix or Scottsdale resort and take advantage of some of their summer deals?

Does it get to 120 in the shade in Phoenix? Heck yes!

Happy Dog Phoenix has already done the homework for you; we have a handy-dandy list of pet-friendly resorts in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson and Sedona.

But beware: It pays to do some homework beforehand. Some resorts say they are dog friendly but what they really mean is “We are friendly to the extra bucks you must fork over to us to have your dog stay with us. Have a stale dog biscuit on us.’’

We randomly selected seven Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson resorts and checked on their sites or called their staff to figure how much it really cost to have the dog stay there.

Resorts were selected by placing a list of resorts in the path of our assistant, Miss Beagle, and having her walk over the piece of paper. Names closest to where she walked were selected. Science, that’s how we roll, at HDP.


Name Fees Weight restrictions for dogs Limit on number of dogs
The Boulders $100 flat fee 75 pounds
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess $25 fee per day None None
FireSky None None None
Hotel Palomar None None None
Loews Ventana Canyon $100 fee None None
Omni Montelucia $100 fee per dog 30 pounds None
Wigwam Resort $25 fee per dog per day None None but if you leave the room, you must kennel the dog


Some resorts say they charge deposits. But what they mean to say is that they charge non-refundable deposits, which is just the same as a fee.

But some places seem genuinely happy to have dogs there. They offer special beds, treats and lists of nearby dog-friendly places.

At Hotel Valley Ho, for example, pets stay free, with no restrictions on number or weight of dogs. Dogs’ swag bags include treats, a double-sided bowl for water and food, clean-up bags, and a ‘Pet in Room’ sign. The hotel’s grounds are great for a stroll and it is close to the Arizona Canal for a longer walk if weather permits.

Just remember to ask some questions before selecting a resort and all of you, including Fido, can have a great break from the summertime heat. See you all for cocktails!



Buzz on Summer Cuts

Are you tempted to give your dog a buzz cut for the summer?

Phoenix temperatures have been at an all-time high and we are all looking for a way to keep our dogs cooler in the summer.

But back away from the clippers!

It’s tempting to get out the extreme scissors when you look at your long-haired Golden Retriever but actually that longer hair helps keep your dog cooler. The hair helps block the heat and regulate your dog’s temperature at the skin level.

“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”

Your dog’s coat also prevents her from getting sunburn and bug bites and helps protect her from skin cancer, according to Murray.

It’s totally OK to give your dog a “summer cut’’, a trimming to make her hair more manageable and that is a job best left to professionals. Summer cuts can also help reduce the amount of natural shedding that your dog and your house are experiencing.

All dogs benefit from a good brushing, and you don’t have to be a pro to do that. It’s important to select the right kind of brush for your dog’s coat. By brushing your dog regularly, you can strip out loose hair so air can circulate against his skin. Regular and thorough brushing also prevents mats, which are not only painful but also trap heat and moisture and can result in skin infections.

So, to recap, your dog just has to be well-groomed for the summer. No skinhead-look needed!


Dogs and Swimming Pools

After an extraordinarily mild May in Phoenix, it’s getting to be that time of year when we all start enjoying the pool, dogs included!

It’s important to remember, however, that Fidos with their wonderful senses of smell can get into what we use to clean our pools, so keep those chemicals in a locked, safe place.

Pool chemicals, including chlorine tablets, muriatic acid and brominating tablets, are generally safe once they are diluted in the pool. But in their purer form, they are corrosive and if swallowed by your dog, can result in severe life-threatening ulcers in the digestive tract.

Also be careful if you are mixing chemicals in a small, confined space, that you don’t let the dog in the area; they could develop respiratory problems from inhaling the chemicals floating in the air. And wipe away any spills since some agents have a sweet odor to them and could attract your dog’s attention.

Once you are all ready for swimming, just know that dogs’ eyes, noses and ears are more sensitive than a humans’ and as such they may be more susceptible to chlorine’s effects. Rinse off and dry your dogs after they swim in the pool to reduce any risk of skin allergies caused by exposure to chlorine.

Many people believe that chlorine is the culprit behind dogs’ ear infections but actually it’s just moistness that can be harmful, according to the American Kennel Club. To prevent infections especially among floppy-eared dogs, give the ears a quick wipe down after pool time, they suggest.

Make sure your dog has plenty of drinking water so she is not tempted to keep drinking that chlorinated or salty pool water. Yes, we know, easier said than done when it comes to directing your dog to a proper water bowl. Exhibit A: The bathroom water bowl (aka toilet).

Overdoing it on the saltwater can cause your dog to have vomiting and diarrhea. The condition can become worse and cause seizures, depression, in-coordination and brain swelling.

As a precaution, check to make sure your dog is not experiencing red eyes, trouble breathing, and throat or stomach pain. It’s a good practice, in general, to have your vet’s number on speed dial. And another great resource to have just in case is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Available anytime, their number is (888) 426-4435.

With a swimming pool at hand, summer in Phoenix can be bearable and sometimes downright pleasant for you and your dog. Just take a couple precautions and enjoy your summer!



Fools for Pools

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Warmer weather means pool time for us all, even for your beloved dog.

Is this the summer you capture your dog’s love for water by experimenting with some underwater photography?

California photographer Seth Casteel really sparked a trend with his totally interesting –and sometimes eerie – photos of dogs underwater.

Here are some tips if you are interested in trying out capturing your dog as she struts her stuff in the pool. (Of course, if she hates the pool and all things water, just set this one out):

  • Swim skills: First off, make sure you can be agile in the water by brushing up on your swimming and diving skills. Nothing ruins the mood of a photo shoot like having to call 911.
  • Waterproofing: If you are using your Iphone as your camera, make sure you have a waterproof case. The pros highly recommend Lifeproof.
  • Shooting blind: Unfortunately, with underwater photography, you can’t see your screen most of the time, nor can you use the on-screen shutter button. Just wing it.
  • Lighting: Try shooting different times of day for different types of lighting. During the day, sunlight can provide reflections and/or direct light on the object or person you are photographing.
  • More lighting: Play with using a flash or strobe. Put your camera in forced-flash mode when taking close-up photos. An external strobe can be a great way to improve your underwater photos.
  • Lens: Experiment as much as you can with the factory lens; macro and wide-angle lenses are especially useful if you are looking for close-up detail.
  • Shutter speed: If your dog has a lot of pep in her step, adjust your shutter speed to be able to catch up with her. Casteel goes with a minimum of 1/250th of a second.
  • Positioning: Put yourself no more than six feet away from the dog in order to reduce blurring. Try getting low and shooting at eye level with her, instead of photographing her from above.
  • Be patient: Especially in the beginning, you are going to be taking a lot of photos that just won’t be very good. Keep trying – the pros easily take up to 20 shots with only one panning out.

If after reviewing all these tips, you think it may be just too much trouble, don’t worry. We have you covered. The man himself, Seth Casteel will be in town May 22 to do some champion photographing of dogs underwater. Here’s the info



Ay Chihuahua!

Ah, the Chihuahua, such a misunderstood dog. Yappy, snappy, reminds us of a bad boss with a Napoleonic complex.

And to be completely honest, I have not always appreciated Chihuahuas.

But in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican, let’s look at ten really good   reasons to love a Chihuahua:

  1. They are built for speed. Check out Chandler’s annual Chihuahua races.
  2. They are built for desert climates. They love being warm and burrowing under covers and sleeping flush up against you.
  3. If you buy one big ol’ bag of dog food, it can last a year if you have a Chihuahua.
  4. At two to six pounds, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed in the world. You have no upper body strength? No problem. You can still carry your Chihuahua around.
  5. Learning how to spell Chihuahua correctly boosts your IQ.
  6. Chihuahuas are one of the oldest registered breeds in America; they were recognized in 1904.
  7. Chihuahuas, or dogs just like them, are believed to date back to 5th century AD. They were bred as the forerunner of the doorbell.
  8. They seem to be OK with wearing funny hats.
  9. What we see as incredible unfriendliness bordering on psychosis is just a Chihuahua protecting their person.
  10. Just like with any other dog, a Chihuahua’s behavior depends on how he was raised and the experiences he has encountered.


Bee Careful!

The sign at Phoenix’s North Mountain Visitor Center says it all: It’s bee season and with reports of dogs being stung to death in Scottsdale, it’s a good time to review how to prevent your dog from getting stung and what to do it Fido meets up with a bee.

Right now, bee-removal services say they are getting 30 to 60 calls a day for people with swarms and hive problems. Typically, bee season in Arizona runs from mid-March through late October, but it often depends on the weather.

The bad news for people with pets is that there is really no way to prevent your dog from coming in contact with a bee, short of house arrest. By their very endearing curious natures, dogs are going to investigate small flying insects zipping around in the air. In fact, dogs are at greater risk from bee stings than people. They are likely to get stung in the mouth or on the nose, face, or feet.

The good news is that dogs’ throats don’t swell up like humans. In most cases, dogs will have mild swelling and tenderness.

If you know that your dog has been stung, try to remove the stinger as quickly as possible to stop the venom from spreading. Use your credit card or fingernail to gently scrape it out.Use Be careful because you may rupture the venom sac, potentially causing more damage. And sometimes, the stinger can’t be found.

To be safe, contact your vet who will most likely advise you to give your pet Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, which dogs usually respond well to. Your vet can tell you the correct dosage based on your dog’s weight. You can also run a washcloth under some cool tap water and and press it onto the sting to help with swelling. Don’t use an ice pack as that can cause frost bite.

It’s time to see the vet immediately if your dog is vomiting, has difficulty breathing, trembling diarrhea, pale gums, weakness or unconsciousness. If any of these symptoms occur, take her to the vet ASAP. Your vet may have to administer antihistimines, steroids or other medications to help reverse the problem.

Another good practice: Have your vet’s number programmed into your speed dial and cell phone. You never know when the bees will show up!


Nix on Ticks


Happy Dog Phoenix is excited to have Monica Gomez be today’s guest blogger:

A healthy dog is a happy dog, but ticks living in the Arizona outdoors threaten the safety of your pet. Ticks are a major problem because they carry diseases and are difficult to detect. A dog that brings home ticks can spread Lyme disease, which affects a quarter of a million Americans per year.

The best way to prevent your dog from gathering ticks is to understand how these nasty pests find a new home. This guide by Carrington College can help you protect your dog by providing valuable information on spotting and eliminating ticks. If you follow these tips, chances that you will have to take your pooch to the vet this summer will be low.





Hiking with the Hound

What to take along on your next hike with the dog?


A good sturdy pair of pliers. Because if your dog is anything like the Beagle who gets her snout into cacti, you will need them.

Also, bring along some good friends. You will need them as well because it takes at least one person to hold the Beagle, one to do the pulling of the cacti and another kiss the dog’s boo-boo. True story.

Nonetheless, the weather is beautiful and the trails beckon for you and the dog. So here are some common-sense guidelines to follow on the trail with your dog. Of course, if you have a Beagle, then all bets are off.


  • Keep your dog on a leash. Oh yes, it is just wonderful to have the dog roam free. Except of course when she gets attacked by a snake, coyote or anything else that thinks she is trespassing on their turf. Also your dog can get easily tangled up with other hikers and cause them to fall on the trail.
  • Bring water. No, bring more water than what you are thinking. You just never know and plus you can help out some poor dog whose human didn’t bring enough water.
  • Hike early in the day and select trails that offer some shade along the way.

Liz Illg, owner of Puff and Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting in Phoenix, says a mini first-aid kit is also a must-have. “There are so many things that can happen on the trail and I like all pet people to be ready if anything were to happen, worse case,’’ she says.

Basic first-aid supplies:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • Tweezers

And now that you are fully prepared, get out there! The weather won’t be cooler much longer!



Girl Scout Cookies goes to dogs?

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Dear Girl Scouts of America:

Well, Girl Scout cookie time has rolled around and once again, us dogs are being left out.

Oh sure, we can snag a box from a countertop and snarf some down but we all know that is going to lead to a lot of midnight hurling and expensive vet bills. Thin Mints, they are delicious but that chocolate can play havoc on our stomachs. As can all the sugar in the Savannahs. And Samoas, (Samoas? We don’t mind if we do) but sugar and chocolate…woo boy! Express Train to Tummy Trouble.

So, why not do us all a favor and make some dog cookies in your next big batch? “Scouts for Scout’’? Or “Campers’ Canine Cookies’’? “Spot’s Sunshines’’? “Bowser Brownies’’? We’re dogs. Not marketing geniuses. Come up with your own names.

From what we understand, you have had less-than-successful cookie attempts in the past. The Kookaburras, a cross between a Rice Krispies treat and a candy bar. Or the Ole Oles, which were –reduced fat and a complete bust. We aren’t so sure people want nutritious cookies from you. Let us know how sales for those Rah-Rah Raisins go over –and raisins, BTW, bad for dogs!

We are all behind your mission to support the development of girls but we think you are missing out on a huge, huge opportunity. With our endless appetites for cookies and your cute-as-a button mercenary sales force, the sky is the limit.


Your Loving Dogs