Tips for keeping your pets safe in the heat


by Tess Rafols

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Posted on April 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 8 at 11:09 AM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The summer heat is just around the corner and that means pet owners will have to take extra precautions when it comes to their four legged friends. In 2011 in Glendale, three dogs died from heat stroke while hiking. That's why the Glendale Fire Department and their K9s are sharing safety tips, because even dogs can suffer from heat stroke.

"The biggest thing is, you have to pay attention to your dog," says David Colson with the Glendale Fire Department. "When they start panting heavily and trying to walk fast and head for the shade, they're hot. That's their way of telling you: I need to get out of the heat."

Colson is the handler for crisis-response dog Brewer. Colson always carries plenty of water, along with a bowl, so his four year old Labrador Retriever never gets dehydrated. Water and shade are key factors when it comes to pets and the Arizona heat.

Dehydration can be a deadly problem for all companion animals during the hot weather, According to the ASPCA, animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, can't pant as effectively, and are therefore more susceptible to heat stroke. You should also keep an eye on elderly or overweight pets or animals with heart and lung disease.

When outdoor temperatures soar, the temperature of the ground also starts sizzling, creating another hazard for pets when they're out for a walk.

"The asphalt gets so hot, animals get 3rd degree burns on their paws" explains Lynette Jenilek of the Glendale Fire Department.  "If you can't hold your hands down for 10 seconds, your dogs can't." Jenilek recommends booties for dogs during the summer months.

Sunscreen is another item pet owners may not think about. Dogs can easily get sunburned, especially in the nose area and if they have lighter coats.  Jenilek recommends using a spray sunscreen.

But make sure it's the right kind. Talk to your vet about which types of sunscreen are safest on your pet’s skin, and follow up by routinely applying sunscreen as part of your summer routine. Do not use sunscreen or insect repellents that are not designed specifically for use on animals. The ASPCA says ingesting certain sunscreens can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy in pets.

To learn more about keeping your pooch safe from the heat, check out  the list of the Glendale Fire Department's Tips for Summer Pet care online.