Desert Safety for Pets

If you live in a desert area or any hot climate, your dog and cat need extra attention to keep them healthy and safe.

Desert wildlife and vegetation can be dangerous for your pet. Poisonous snakes, scorpions and other creatures can make your pet ill or even kill them. When walking your pet, keep a sharp lookout for any creatures that can cause your pet harm. If possible provide a fenced-in yard equipped with shady areas for your dog and cat to escape the sun. Keep bowls of fresh water outdoors and in the house to keep your pet well hydrated.

Cacti and some succulents have sharp thorns. They can prick skin, mouths, paws, becoming embedded and entering the body. Once in the body, serious problems can arise. Discourage your pets from going near these plants using training with special commands.

Walk your dog early mornings and late in the day when temperatures are coolest. Take care about walking in hot sand or pavement heated by the sun. Test before you allow your dog to walk – if it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for dog and can cause damage to paws.

Fur acts as an insulation in both hot and cold weather. Before considering shaving your pet, check to make sure it will be appropriate for your breed of dog or cat. If you decide to give your pet a haircut, make sure skin is well covered with fur so as not to cause sunburn. Hairless dogs and cats should be kept out of the hot sun.

At certain times of the year, some desert areas experience rains which can bring lightning, thunder and flash floods. Your pet can be swept away by rushing waters or struck by lightning. Some pets are fearful of storms and may choose to hide in unsafe places. Listen to weather forecasts and keep your pets indoors when you know of an approaching storm.

Be alert to your pet’s behavior. If you notice anything that doesn’t appear normal such as excessive panting, limping, signs of pain, lethargy, take your pet indoors. Give fresh cool water and examine for any bites or other injuries. When in doubt, contact your vet immediately.

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