Protect your pets in the heat of summer

When the mercury starts rising across the Valley of the Sun, it affects your health. It also puts stress and harm on your dog's health as well.

No matter whether your dog is a big one or small one, the heat can take its toll by hindering your dog's ability to expel heat and regulate its body temperature.

Big dogs are likely to be outside more than smaller house dogs so they tend to be more susceptible to the heat.

According to Valley Veterinarian, Dr. Mike Ferrera of Squaw Peak Animal Hospital, dogs can get heatstroke just like humans. Also your dog's paws can become painfully blistered when exposed to hot pavement and asphalt, the same way your feet would get harmed if you were to walk barefooted.

Certain breeds of dogs do worse in the heat than others.

"Smooshed-faced" dogs like English bulldogs, pugs, and boxers have more difficulty breathing when it's hot than the typical long-snouted dogs like retrievers.

Shaving your dog's fur might seem like it would make the dog cooler, when in reality it has little effect on the animal. And, if the dog spends lots of time in the sun, the shaved coat might actually harm the dog by letting it get sunburned. Yes, dogs can get sunburned, especially the lighter shade dogs whose skin is more sun-sensitive.

The best advice from Dr. Ferrera is to limit the amount of time spent outside with your dog.

If you do go out, do it in the morning when the ground and air is cooler for the animal.

And always, be sure your dog has plenty of water, shade, and a cool place to get relief from the relentless Arizona heat.

Remember, never leave your dog in a vehicle during the summer and if the weather is hot and uncomfortable for YOU, it's the same for your dog!

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