Did you know dogs and cats can suffer heatstroke? Sunburn? Read our safety tips below to keep your pet safe in the summer heat.


  • PAW PROTECTION: Be wary of walking your dog on a paved surface because it’s frequently too hot for their paws. If you aren’t comfortable walking barefoot, don’t walk your dog on that surface. Early morning is the best time to walk your pet in urban areas.
  • Heatstroke is a life-threatening, medical emergency that occurs when an animal can’t cool down the body’s temperature.
  • Since dogs don’t have sweat glands dispersed throughout their body like humans, they regulate their temperature by panting.
  • On the other hand, cats keep cool by using their own saliva and licking their body.
  • Both dogs and cats are susceptible to developing heatstroke. If left untreated, this condition can cause severe, potentially irreversible damage to your pet’s organs.
  • Some signs of heatstroke in dogs include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, shaking, unsteadiness or stumbling, not producing urine, and delirium-like behavior.
  • Cats may show signs of heat-related distress through excessive grooming, weakness, or redness in their tongue.
  • If you notice any of these in your pet, immediately contact your vet.


  • If your dog is running in grassy areas, and he stops and starts to scratch, be aware of:
  • Allergic reactions to the grass or chemicals used to treat the grass. Allergies can be managed by your veterinarian, but it can be difficult. Look for red bumps or swelling on the paws and stomach.
  • Grass seeds, called awns or foxtails, can get lodged between toes or in the ears and can cause infections. Grass awns have little barbs on them and they can stick in the skin, then slowly migrate to other parts of the body.


  • Not all water is good for dogs to be around:
  • Never leave your pet unattended when around water. Not all dogs can swim, despite urban legend.
  • Pond, lake, or stream swimming is usually OK for VACCINATED pets to wade or swim in, with the exception of:
  • Water with visible algae, oil, or other substance on the surface.
  • Ponds/streams that show up after heavy rain, and are composed mostly of run-off water.
  • Waterways that are congested with boats.
  • And if you plan on taking your pet for a boat ride, be sure they’re wearing a life vest, too.


It’s tempting to take your dog with you when you are hiking, out for a jog, or running errands. But the reality is: it’s better to leave them at home, in the A/C, during Arizona’s hot summer months.