Brutal Arizona Summer and Your Dog

D. Rovers

Arizona summers are brutal and can result in heat stroke, and hot pavement can burn feet. Balancing summer recreation and heat safety is serious business for dogs in Arizona. With rising temperatures, pets can become easily overheated outdoors or in vehicles. Take precautions and watch for signs of heat stress to ensure your dog is safe and cool all summer long.

Walking and Light Exercise. When walking, stick to early morning or late evening to take advantage of cooler times of day. However, in Arizona, early morning or late evening may still be too hot for a routine walk.

Hot Asphalt. Be careful to avoid hot pavement. Even in the 90s, the asphalt can reach 143 degrees. That means your pet can suffer burns in seconds. If possible, walk your dog on grass to avoid hot surfaces. Press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for seven seconds to verify it is not too hot.

Summer Haircut. While you may be tempted to shave your dog’s long coat in the summer, this can be counterproductive. Their coat is designed not only to keep them warm, but to cool them during the summer. Shaving them exposes their skin to sunlight and risk of sunburn. This is especially important if your dog is hairless, has a pink or light-colored nose, short coat, or white coat. Discuss with your groomer.

Symptoms of Overheating: Elevated body temperature, weakness, collapse, heavy panting or rapid breathing, bright or dark red tongue or gums, excessive drooling, staggering, stumbling, glazed eyes, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst, seizures, increased pulse and heartbeat, unconsciousness. Do not use ice or ice water. Bring down the body temperature in a shaded area with cool water. Do not force fluids in the mouth, as they could choke, especially if in shock.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke. The body temperature of 109 degrees F or higher is heat stroke. A temperature of 103 degrees is cause for concern. If in doubt, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. All dogs can have heat stroke, but dogs with flat faces, short noses, seniors, puppies, and dogs with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable.

Leaving Your Dog in a Hot Car May Be Hazardous to Its Health. On a day that is 80 to 85 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 120 degrees—windows cracked do not help. On a pleasant, 70-degree day, it takes less than 30 minutes to reach 120 degrees. In a temperature that high, a dog could easily die. That’s why the American Kennel Club recommends that dog owners never leave their dog alone in a car during the warm weather.

Did you know that dozens of dogs die every summer after being left in a parked car “for just a few minutes.” There is no such thing as running into Circle K for a coffee in Arizona. Cracking windows does nothing to alter a car’s internal temperature. Many states allow concerned citizens (Good Samaritans) to break a car window to save an animal. If you see an animal inside a hot car, call 911. Hot car fatalities are preventable. Learn more from the Animal Legal Defense Fund at

For additional tips on canine summer care, write AKC, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27617, and request a free copy of AKC Canine Summer Safety Guidelines.

Rover’s Rest Stop Kids want everyone to be safe this summer! We are looking forward to you attending our Meet & Greet on July 8 and Aug. 12. We are in the A-6 Dance Room in Cottonwood from 9 a.m. to noon. We would love to have new ambassadors. Come by and see what all we do! Call 480-600-2828 for more information. The Kids are asking, “Are you my new family?”