Heatwave — keeping your dog safe!

phoenix dogs during heat wave
Yea, it is hot in Phoenix now. Hot for you and the dog. Blazing, furnace-level hot. Mucho de heat.

We checked in with our friends at Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Vet in Gilbert for some info on how to keep your dogs safe during this excessive heat. Here’s a great Q and A with Dr. Gloriana Halterman, DVM

What should dogs drink in the heat? Anything besides water?

Water is really best. Things like Gatorade or Pedialyte have a lot of sugar. Having lots of fresh, cool water available is the most helpful thing to do for your pet. Misting sprays can also help your pet dissipate some of the heat.

My dog still wants to walk in the heat. What can I do?

It’s tough. But when it gets this hot, sometimes you have to say, “We just can’t do it.” One option may be to wait for the sun to go down. But you’ll still need to be cautious. Another option is to seek out an indoor exercise area, such as a doggie day care that is well air-conditioned.

What about booties? Do they help?

They can be helpful, but the problem is they get worn down with extended use. And we don’t want to be overly reliant on them because then we can encounter the other problems that the heat brings, such as heatstroke. If it’s hot enough, you can use them to help your dog walk short distances — just enough to get from one place to another.

How about having the dog just walking on grass when it is hot?

Grass is better than concrete. But be cautious around dry, broken grass. And especially with artificial turf — this may look like it would be cooler but it can actually get quite hot.

What else should I know dogs and this kind of heat?

One thing that we really want to stress is to take caution if you have a breed of dog that is brachycephalic, such as a pug or a bulldog. Because of their short noses, these breeds are very prone to heat-related problems. Last year, I had a horrible case of a family who had their bulldog out at 9 p.m. at night on the Fourth of July and he still got heatstroke. Just be very, very cautious if you have one of these dogs.

Also, if you suspect your dog is suffering heat-related problems, please don’t dunk her in an ice bath. You may accidentally lower her body temperature too dramatically. Instead, gently cool your dog with wet towels, a mister or a fan.

What have you seen so far during this heat wave?

We haven’t actually seen as many heat-related cases as you may think at our Gilbert hospital. We did have one case of heatstroke and another dog with bloat who had skin lesions that appeared to be heat related. It’s actually more common to see heat-related cases at the start of the summer. Right now, when it’s so brutally hot, everyone is very cognizant of the heat. It’s earlier in the season that people are generally less aware of it. But we will continue to see some cases throughout the summer.
Great advice about keeping our dogs safe when it so hot out there, Dr. H — thanks so much for the info!

Hikes, dogs and the heat

dog hike on hot trail

Want to take your dog out for a hike?

Just do it before it gets to be 100 degrees out – that’s the law now in the city of Phoenix.

The city of Phoenix changed what had been an interim policy into a permanent ban and now dogs shouldn’t be on th trails once the temperature is 100 degrees or more. Phoenix is the first city in the country to have laws like this on the books.

New hiking rules for dogs

The new rules cover all city of Phoenix trails; however there are certain Phoenix trails that dogs can’t go on no matter what the weather is.

Under PCC 24-54 (failure to comply), people who hike with their dogs when it is 100 degrees or hotter could be subject to a Class One Misdemeanor that could include a fine of up to $2,500 and six months jail time.

Why do we need such a rule for hikes?

Anyone who hikes in Phoenix knows the answer to this. We’ve all seen dogs on out on trail when it was just too hot for them. It’s one thing for dumb humans to go out when it is too hot but it’s just unconscionable to bring a dog out in the heat like that.

Phoenix veterinarians who practice near popular city hiking trails report they frequently treat hiker dogs who have been overheated. And, vet warn sometimes dogs brought in for heat exhaustion don’t survive the ordeal.

While the city of Phoenix didn’t have any statistics on the numbers of dogs affected by heat in the mountain preserves , 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.

Heat is dangerous for dogs

Dogs can’t cool off as easily as humans because they don’t sweat like we do.

Dog lovers who want to get some exercise with the dog, should do it early in the morning or in the evening and bring plenty of water. And know the signs of heat distress in your dog.

Let’s stay safe (and legal) out there!

 

 

 

 

 

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.