It is obvious that we have extreme heat in the summer, but it is concerning how often our four-legged friends have negative situations due to heat. The temperature, in general, is important to be aware of, but we also must consider the temperature of the ground and in our vehicles.
The first thing that comes to mind when it comes to my dogs and the weather is their paws on the hot ground. It may not seem hot or too hot, but the ground can burn the pads of our canine friends in very little time.
Canine shoes and walking early or later in the day can help prevent damage. Different surfaces attract more heat and knowing the desert can help prevent burns to everyone. Teaching our canine family members to wear shoes to protect them can be a game-changer and helps with the cold too if you travel or live in colder areas during cold times of the year.
Heat in the car is one thing I think people are unaware of as well. Serious damage and death can occur if your dog is left in a vehicle. Besides being illegal to leave canines in the hot car, it is alarming how fast heat exhaustion and death can occur. Leaving them in the car, even with the air conditioner running is still against the law, so be careful about safety as well!
Water safety is just as important for the four-legged as it is for the two-legged. We will look at things to consider if water or a pool is around.
Knowing where the steps are in the pool can literally save a life for any species around the pool. Not all dogs are water dogs or are as comfortable in the pool but knowing how to get out of one if one were to fall into the pool can be a game-changer.
Teaching how to swim can also be a great way to improve safety. When first learning how to swim, I like my dogs to have a life vest to help guide them. The handle on the back allows you to help manage the situation and make them feel at ease. It also helps to keep them from scratching you during a potential panic moment. To make sure they are not panicking, use reward-based (high value) training to help turn the coin on what they are perceiving as scary. Take this slow and make sure it’s a very positive experience!
Pet CPR can be a great way to ensure everyone in the family is safe at all times.
Canine CPR is something that many of my clients are aware of, but many people do not know where to look for this. I usually tell clients to look at the local rescues in your area. Humane societies in local areas offer these classes, typically monthly. Humane Society of Southern Arizona offers classes and can be accessed at hussaz.org. Many have even taken these classes online during the pandemic.
Snakes, scorpions, and other venomous creatures live in our beautiful desert and when the weather changes, we are forced to be around each other a little more than desired.
There are many ways to prevent or minimize danger.
One suggestion I make to clients is to have a strong leave-it and come command. In fact, an amazing client of mine found a rattlesnake in their house recently (no joke) and the skills learned in our classes allowed them to get their two younger dogs to safety, amazingly.
Rattlesnake training and Toad aversion can also save lives. Do your research and see where you can accomplish this locally if desired.
Firework safety and storm safety is always something I speak about in Puppy and Beginner classes.
By planning ahead we can help reduce stress for both you and your canine family members.
The summer brings us various holidays where we celebrate with fireworks. These loud, abrupt noises can cause much trauma to our canine family and there are things to do to help alleviate that stress. Desensitize to noises and help train that these things are normal. With anything that scares or causes a fight or flight response, it is important to use positive reinforcement. I often say “I am not less scared of something if you act too assertive or aggressive”, so it is important to take things slow and prep for the future. (Please see our article in thetucsondog.com May/June issue, page 24 for more information here!)
Keeping my whole family safe is very important and living in the desert presents various challenges. Think ahead and plan appropriately during this time of the year. Being proactive can help make sure everyone has the tools to be successful in any situation. Desensitizing and training can help guide many scary situations in our desert. Using shoes and protecting from the heat is imperative for you and me, as well as our furry family! Canine CPR is an underrated ability, and I truly wish more people knew that they can easily learn this skill!
BE safe, BE proactive and make sure we have a beautiful and safe summer in the desert!
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