It's a dry heat!
Many years ago before moving to Arizona one of the stories I heard was that it wasn't really "hot" in Arizona.
Supposedly this was true due to the fact that the only thing experienced by people living in Arizona was called dry heat.
Who made that fairy tale up? After many more years of living here I have come to one huge conclusion. It's hot here and there is no pretending that it isn't.
Dry heat, wet heat or just plain heat it's all hot. Not only do we have the heat, but once the monsoon begins it seems the world around us has turned into an outdoor sauna.
Don't get me wrong, I am very thankful that I live in Cottonwood. After living in Phoenix for a couple of years I treasure the cool mornings and evenings that we experience up here. I'm sure my animals feel exactly the same way.
Since we have the pleasure of seeing the sun almost every day of the year, do you ever wonder if your pet could get sunburn?
Too much exposure to the sun can burn our animals in the same way it burns a human.
Limited time is the sun is recommended for our pets. This is especially true for our fair-haired furry friends.
Conduct your outside time early in the morning or once the sun goes down.
We've heard these same cautions for humans also. Blondes, redheads and fair-skinned, beware of those powerful rays. This is the same for our animals.
Use sunscreen on yourself and your pets if you are going to be outside for prolonged periods of time. They actually make sunscreen safe for our animals.
If you notice any type of discoloration or sores on your pet's skin you will want to schedule a vet appointment for your pet. Just like in humans, be safe, not sorry.
Are you having some financial challenges at this time and can't really afford a vet visit?
If so, please stop in the shelter located at 1502 W. Mingus and complete a vet assistance form. It only takes a few minutes of your time to help your pet.
Once you are approved and a vet appointment is made you will receive a check made out to the vet of your choice that covers the initial office visit.
Sunburn is not the only thing we have to worry about during the relentless summer weather.
Cats and dogs are also prone to heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Heatstroke is more common in dogs due to the fact that they are outside more and often left in hot parked cars.
Some animals are more prone to heat issues than others. Double coats and animals with pushed back faces have the most trouble in hot weather.
Heat conditions in dogs occur when the animal's body temperature exceeds the ability to cool his body down.
The normal body temperature for our canine friends ranges between 100 and 102.5 F.
When the body temperature rises above 103-105 F the normal cooling mechanisms can't handle the load.
At this point serious conditions can happen and medical help for your pet will be required.
This elevated temperature is different from a fever. Fevers are normal responses to infections or inflammations.
Cats don't sweat by panting like our dogs do. They sweat through their paws. They lick themselves more when it's hot, which puts saliva on their fur.
The saliva evaporates off the fur the body temp goes down. That's why you will see your feline friend grooming more on a hot day.
A cat's temperature should normally be 100.5-102.5 F. When it rises your cat is also in danger of heat issues.
It's hard to realize but heat stress can happen very rapidly. Often animals show signs in just minutes. This is especially true of animals that primarily stay outside.
There are ways to help your animals beat the heat. If you use the following suggestions heat related conditions may not occur.
Groom your pet on a regular basis.
Provide fresh water constantly for animals inside and out.
Get haircuts for breeds with large amounts of fur or undercoats.
Avoid activity during the hot parts of the day.
Take plenty of water whenever you take your pets out.
Provide plenty of shade for your pets.
Large industrial or porch ceiling fans outside for pets staying outside.
Place a kiddie splash pool in the shade with a couple of inches of water in it for your dog.
Don't take your pets in the car during this time of year.
If you suspect heatstroke in your pet, cool him down promptly and call your vet. Your rapid thinking can save your pet's life.
Don't use ice water to cool down your pet. Ice water may cause a dramatic change in body temperature. That's not what you want to achieve.
Put your pet in the bathtub, kiddie splash pool or sink and fill it with cool water, not cold. You could also put cool wet towels to his body.
Refresh the towels in cool water since the towels will quickly reach the temperature of your pet's body.
Some of the symptoms of heatstroke in your pet are:
Gasping for air
Heavy rapid panting
Deep red colored gums
Inability to stand
In severe cases of heatstroke your animal may have seizures, diarrhea and even vomit. It's important that you watch your pets closely so things never get to this degree.
This Arizona dry heat can be brutal and relentless. Don't let it claim the life of anyone you love.
Remember, lots of fresh cold water at all times. Ice cubes in the water help keep the water cool longer.
Ice cubes also provide entertainment for some animals. My little dog Kya gets very excited and barks at them like they are live creatures.
This can even provide entertainment for the humans in the house. Watch your pet's reaction to the cubes floating. When adding ice I always observe so no one chokes.
Be creative during this time of year. You'd be surprised what entertains your pets while cooling them down.
Letting your pets stay in the house along with fresh water is the best thing you can do for them.
I don't know about you but when it's in the 100's I really don't enjoy sitting outside no matter how beautiful the day is.
Being in air conditioning or even a swamp cooler is much better than being left outside to rest in shade.
Animals also love to rest in front of a floor fan. Careful of those blades, we don't want any tails getting caught. Only use fans with safety front guards.
If your pets are like mine all they want to do is come in and rest on the cool tile during this time of the year. Energy is zapped and staying cool is the main focus.
Watch your pet closely. Be aware of any changes in your pet's behavior. Seek medical attention when things out of the ordinary occur.
Once again, be safe and not sorry.