Helpful Tips How To Protect Your Animals During The Summer Heat
by Guide Dogs of the Desert
10:19 AM, Wednesday, June 20
With the extreme summer heat upon us throughout the desert Southwest, there are a few things Guide Dogs of the Desert would like to suggest to all pet owners. Pet care should be taken seriously, as pets can’t make the same judgment as humans do when they overheat. Additionally, there are a few things that businesses need to know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and access laws for service dogs.


Pet Paws and Scalding Hot Pavement

Pavement is hot! Your pet does not have soles on his paws, so his feet are directly subjected to the hot summer pavement (cement and blacktop). To determine if the pavement is too hot, take the palm of your hand and hold it on the cement for five seconds – if it’s too hot for you, then it can scald your pet’s paws, causing them to blister and possibly become infected. Even though you might think the pavement is cool enough, when you stop to talk to people and your dog remains sitting, his feet will become hot, so please move yourself into a shaded area.


Heat Exhaustion

Please remember that the only way dogs can cool off is by panting, although they do sweat through the pads of their feet. Please pay extra attention to the signs that your dog will exhibit when he is getting too hot. Please keep your walks to the morning or late evening (after the pavement is shaded), when the weather is more conducive to both humans and pets going for a stroll. In the desert, the hottest times of the day are between 1 and 5 p.m. Carry water with you for your dog or pet at all times.

Overheated Vehicles, Homes and Buildings

California Penal Code 597.1 (excerpt from the code): “Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any peace officer, humane society officer, or animal control officer shall take possession of the stray or abandoned animal left in a motor vehicle, home or building and shall provide care and treatment for the animal until the animal is deemed to be in suitable condition to be returned to the owner if and when penalties are paid.”


Pools for Relief

Pools can be a fun way to cool off from the summer heat. Remember, you set the boundaries and you tell them when they can swim. Never leave dogs unattended as they can drown just like children. Chlorine pools can dry out your dog’s coat and salt water pools can make your dog sick if too much salt water is ingested.


Snake Bites

Please be aware that this is the season for snakes of all varieties. The University of California, San Diego states that rattlesnake bites have been more venomous than in years past.  Please stick to walking paths and make noise while walking in areas where snakes might be hiding. Do not let your dog sniff under bushes or in holes as they may be looking eye to eye with a rattlesnake. If your dog encounters a snake, back away slowly without agitating the snake further. Do not scream, make sudden movements or stomp your feet. Snakes can strike at least half the distance of their length or more.

If your pet is bitten by a snake, seek medical attention immediately. In addition to seeking medical attention, please carry your pet, if possible, to avoid any activity that will speed the process of the venom traveling through the bloodstream. Please do not attempt to suck out the venom or place a tourniquet on your pet. Not all veterinarians carry the antivenin, so please call ahead and know if your routine vet has this in stock. This is very expensive and most vets only carry a vial or two.


Fleas and Ticks

With the onset of extreme heat comes the infestation of fleas and ticks. Use a tick and flea product like Frontline Plus to protect your pet from the irritating pests. Ticks carry Lyme disease, which can be harmful to not only pets but to humans as well. Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia, which is the predominant cause of Lyme disease in the U.S.



We all know that if you take your pets to an area that has abundant greenery, rivers, streams or lakes, you should protect them from heartworms. Most of us have been told that mosquitoes do not exist in the desert, but they are here and finding places to breed. In order to administer the medicine necessary to prevent heartworm, a blood sample must be taken from the pet to ensure that it does not already have heartworm. In its advanced stages, heartworms can be fatal.  


— The Guide Dogs of the Desert school was founded in Palm Springs in 1972 to provide safe mobility, loving companionship and the “miracle of independence” to the blind through the use of a guide dog. The school is known for its small class size, making for a family environment.

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