Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital

10855 South 48th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85048



It’s National Pet dental Health Month - 02/02/2018


February is National Pet Dental Health Month. If you don’t already brush your pet’s teeth and/or bring them to us for a regular cleaning, here are some important reasons you and your pet should participate in this important pet health month:

Prevent Periodontal Disease

Lack of regular dental care results in plaque build-up on your pet’s teeth. This plaque leads to tartar and gingivitis, which can develop into periodontal disease. Studies have shown that by the time a pet reaches the age of 3 years, 80% of cats and dogs have some form of periodontal disease. If it isn’t treated and/or managed, this disease can cause bleeding. eating difficulties, and lead to more serious health and dental problems.

Prevent Pain

Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent discomfort and pain. periodontal disease and loose teeth are painful. Our pets are remarkably good at hiding when they are experiencing pain. This is an instinctual behavior. However, just because they don’t appear to you to be experiencing pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling discomfort and pain. Make sure your pet isn’t in pain or having any difficulty eating or chewing because of poor dental health.

Prevent Loose Teeth and Tooth Loss

If you’ve ever had a loose tooth, you’ll know it was uncomfortable, perhaps even painful. The progression of periodontal disease can cause loose teeth and even tooth loss. Loose teeth make activities like eating and chewing difficult for your furry friend. However, with regular care, you make sure your pet’s teeth remain healthy and prevent tooth loss.

Improve Your Pet’s Breath

Providing regular dental care can prevent bad breath. If your pet’s breath sends you running in the opposite direction, a good cleaning may be needed.

Maintain Whiter Teeth

A regular annual professional checkup and cleaning as well as daily dental routine can keep your pet’s pearly whites looking nice and white.

Increase Your Pet’s Lifespan

Gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease can lead to other health problems outside of the mouth. The bacteria that develops around your pet’s teeth can enter his or her blood stream and cause more serious medical conditions, including heart, kidney, or liver disease or diabetes.

Save on Your Veterinary Bills

Although annual dental cleanings will cost you some money, they can end up saving you big bucks down the road. By maintaining your pet’s teeth – keeping them clean and free of disease, you could be saving yourself from expensive medical procedures in the future, including tooth removal, surgery, or the cost of dealing with other health conditions that could arise from periodontal disease.


These are all great reasons to schedule your pet for his or her annual dental checkup and cleaning this month. However, there’s another reason, too – you love your pet! Be sure to check out the sections on our website that talk in more detail about dental care and what is involved in a professional dental cleaning. Check out the before and after pictures, too.

Contact us today about getting started on the path to good dental care for your pet. We are running a special this month, so call to schedule your pet’s professional cleaning  480-893-0533.


Caring For Your Pet’s Paws - 01/04/2018



Your pet’s paws are made for walking and they are often accustomed to navigating tough surfaces. However, this doesn’t make your pet immune to injury or sore paws. Sharp objects on the ground or weather conditions can impact the condition of your pet’s paws. Furthermore, without regular maintenance, your pet’s paws may become sore and painful. Fortunately, it only takes a little bit of TLC to preserve your pet’s paws and keep them healthy and injury-free.

Regular maintenance includes:

Trims. The hair between your dog’s toes and around his or her paws may become matted and even painful if it isn’t maintained regularly. Regularly comb out and trim the hair to avoid tangles and keep your dog’s paws pain-free.

Inspect for foreign objects. Small and/or sharp objects may become embedded in your pet’s paws or between his or her toes. When cleaning and trimming your pet’s paws, take a moment to inspect and remove any foreign objects that may have become lodged in them. If you can’t reach it with your fingers, use a pair of tweezers to gently remove any splinters, etc.

Moisturizing. Similar to human hands, dog’s paws can benefit from a good moisturizing to prevent them from becoming too dry or even cracking. However, unlike human hands, your dog’s paws can get too soft if the wrong moisturizer is used. So, avoid your scented hand moisturizer and talk to your veterinarian instead about a moisturizer specifically safe for your dog’s paws.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Heat. Here in Arizona this is a big problem for our pets. Avoid hot pavement, concrete, and sand, and stick to the grass whenever possible. If you cannot comfortably stand on the surface, then neither can your pet. If it’s uncomfortable for you to walk on in bare feet, it’s also too hot for your dog. Additionally, try to keep walks to cooler parts of the day, around sun up and sun down. If you notice your pet’s paws seem tender or burned or blistered, bring him or her to us immediately.

Cold. Here in the Phoenix area this is not as common a problem as it is in some areas; however, if you travel up north or to cold areas of the country with your pet, it’s important to be cautious about cold, too. When it’s very cold outside, your pet is at risk of hypothermia and/or frostbite. Avoid leaving your pet out for long periods of time in very cold temperatures. When it comes to walks, you can protect your dog from the elements by dressing him or her in booties. If your dog resists wearing booties, make sure that you’re wiping his or her paws after they go outdoors to remove any salt or chemicals that could be harmful.

Be safe rather than sorry. When is your dog’s behavior indicative of potential problems with his or her paws? Limping could be one indication that your dog has painful paws. Excessive licking of the paws can also suggest a possible issue, such as an allergy or irritation that causes your dog’s paws to be uncomfortable or itchy. If your dog is continuously limping or excessively licking his or her paws, bring her or him in to us for a visit. When it comes to the health of your furry pal’s paws, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


Pet Proofing Your Holiday Decorations - 12/18/2017



Many of us enjoy decorating our homes during the holidays. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that these decorations can pose for our pets. Whenever you introduce something new to your home, there’s a good chance yoour pet(s) will want to interact with it, which can lead to some potential dangerous situations. Luckily, with a little pet proofing, you can ensure that your holiday decora doesn’t cause your cat or dog any harm during the holiday season.

The introduction of the Christmas tree to our homes each year always seems to catch our pets’ attention. Often, they can’t help but explore and interact with it in some way, whether it’s trying to climb its branches, paw at the bright lights and sparkling ornaments, trying to eat the decorations, or just knocking it over.

The tree itself can be a source of potential danger for your pet. The oils and needles of a live pine tree can be slightly toxic to your pet, causing irritation in their mouths and stomachs. Even an artificial tree could be dangerous if consumed. Don’t let yoour pet near the tree when you aren’t home, and when you are around, keep an eye on them and discipline your pets to stay away from the tree. If you do catch your pet eating the tree, get him or her away and monitor his or her behavior.

Additionally, be wary of the water that your live tree sits in. Your pets don’t know this, but the water of your Christmas tree could contain bacteria or preserving additives that could make them sick. To prevent your pets from drinking the Christmas tree water, cover it with a tree skirt.

It is also important to ensure that your tree is strongly secured. If your cat decides to scale its heights, you want to be sure that he or she won’t send it crashing over. If possible, also elevate your tree to make it less accessible and harder to tip over.

There are several types of ornaments that you should never utilize, including tinsel, real mistletoe, fake snow, poinsettias, lilies, and holly. However, that doesn’t mean your ome has to be dull or bear. You just need to decorate strategically. For example, place glass ornaments high out of reach so they can’t be pulled down by pets and broken. If your cat likes to climb, consider using ornaments that are less breakable. Also, ensure that hanging decorations, like wreaths and garlands, are securely fastened so they can’t be torn down.

Electrical cords attached to light can be tempting for pets to chew on. Prevent pets from suffering electrical burns or worse by covering the cord, placing it high out of reach, or using battery operated lights.

Candles are another hazard that are dangerous for both pets and you. Never leave open flames unattended, as pets may burn themselves or even start a fire by knocking candles over.

With only a few precautions, you can ensure that your home is festive and safe for your pets.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Your Pets - 11/20/2017

DSC_0617_2Thanksgiving is such a special time of year when we take the time to appreciate and give thanks for the important things and blessings in our lives.As you gather around the table with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, please remember to pay attention to your pet(s) and keep their safety in mind.

You may want to include your pet(s) in the festivities and spoil them with bites of food or leftovers, but some Thanksgiving foods may upset their stomach, or worse, they could be toxic and pose a threat to their health and safety. Therefore, before you share those bites or scraps, please take a moment to read these Thanksgiving safety tips for pets.

#1. Turkey dos and dont’s

It’s okay to share a little turkey with your furry friends, but avoid excess skin and fat. White meant is the best pet-friendly option.

Make sure the turkey is fully cooked and all bones have been removed before sharing. Don’t give your dog any turkey bones. They can splinter and cause serious health problems.

#2. Mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans and more

There are many vegetables that served for Thanksgiving and many are healthy options your pets can enjoy. Mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, asparagus, lettuce, and pumpkin are all okay.

#3. Avoid sharing onions, garlic, leeks, and other alliums

Whether raw, cooked, or in powder form, alliums can be potentially toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to gastric discomfort, pain and anemia.

#4. Say yes to cranberry sauce and NO to grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats if ingested.

Cranberry sauce is okay; however, limit how much you share as it can be high in sugar.

#5 Baking dos and don’ts

If you’re using sweeteners instead of sugar, make sure not to offer your delicious desserts to your pet – sweeteners can contain xylitol which is poisonous for pets.

Thanksgiving is no exception to the “no chocolate rule” for pets. Chocolate, especially baking chocolate, is very toxic and potentially lethal if ingested by your pet.

If you’re baking your own bread, don’t allow your pets to have any raw dough. When it’s ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in their stomach. As the dough expands, your pet can become quite sick and bloated, and may even require surgery to relieve the pressure.


Help your pet enjoy the holidays just as much as you do. Follow the “everything in moderation” rule. If your pets get too much of any of the special foods that they aren’t used to eating, they will likely end up with an upset stomach, diarrhea or maybe worse – overindulging can lead to pancreatitis.

if you want to play it safe, you could always pick up a new chew bone or toy or some veterinarian-approved treats for your pet.

Happy Thanksgiving!


National Pet Diabetes Month - 11/01/2017


November is National Pet Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a condition that affects both cats and dogs, as well as humans. Diabetes in animals is very similar to diabetes in humans. However, when it comes to our furry friends, it can be difficult for them to communicate when something is wrong. it’s up to us as pet parents to watch for signs something might be amiss, and get our pets the treatment they need. With diabetes, the common signs you may notice in your pet include increased thirst, increased urination, and weight loss in spite of an increased or excessive appetite. Additionally, lethargy, having urinary “accidents” when fully housebroken, cloudy eyes in dogs, lack of grooming in cats, and a dull, thinning coat can be symptoms. If your pet is displaying any of these signs, you should schedule a veterinary visit right away.


Diabetes Mellitus is the most common form of diabetes seen in cats and dogs, and is a disease of the pancreas (the other type, diabetes insipidus, is much more rare in both dogs and cats and affects the body’s ability to conserve water. The body releases too much water, often leading to dehydration). In animals with diabetes mellitus, their bodies don’t process insulin – the substance that turns glucose, or sugar from food, into fuel for the body – properly, or their bodies don’t produce enough insulin. Without the right amount of insulin in your pet’s body, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. As a result, your pet may act as though he or she is starving or malnourished; this is because the pet’s body isn’t using the food they are consuming effectively for energy.

Diabetes mellitus is a common disease, with between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 animals believed to be affected, with those numbers on the rise. Diabetes is often seen in middle-aged to older animals, animals that are overweight or obese, female dogs and male cats. Other risk factors for diabetes come from genetic predisposition to the disease and breed.

While there is no cure for diabetes, it is possible to manage it well for your pet and enable them to still lead a full, active life. Most pets with diabetes mellitus will require a daily insulin injection and diet regulation. They will need to be fed the same amount and type of food at the same time every day. A regular exercise routine is also beneficial. However, once a pet’s diabetes is properly regulated, prognosis is good and they are able to enjoy a quality life with little side effects or symptoms. However, if left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to other health problems, including cataracts, urinary tract infections, and eventually coma and death.

National diabetes month was created to bring awareness to this disease that affects a large number of animals, especially as they age, and ensure they are getting the veterinary treatment and care needed to manage this condition. If you’ve noticed any of the signs or symptoms outlined above, make sure you have your pet seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose, treat your pet, and advise you on ongoing management for your pet’s condition. He or she will be able to answer any questions you may have. Remember each pet is unique; therefore, diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management will be tailored to each individual pet. The earlier this condition is diagnosed and regulated, the better the prognosis and outlook your pet will have. With proper management, there is no reason your pet’s life expectancy should be affected.

October Is Pet Obesity Awareness Month - 10/03/2017


October is Pet Obesity Awareness Month. Obese and overweight pets have become a growing concern in veterinary medicine all over the world over the past years. The Australian Veterinary Association reports 41% of pets are overweight or obese. The rates are even higher in the United States (56%) and Canada (50%). That means that around half of all domestic pets could benefit from losing a few pounds. It also means that half of domestic pets aren’t living at an optimum level of health and are having their lives put at risk by a condition that is preventable and very manageable.

Overweight pets have a shorter lifespan and poorer quality of life. They also have increased risks of medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, heart disease, diabetes and more. Overweight and obese pets are also prone to greater risk of complications during surgical procedures and recovery. Dogs are at higher risk than cats; females are at greater risk than males, and older animals are at greater risk than younger pets. Additionally, the incidence of obese pets is also correlated to the obesity levels of their owners, which is often directly related to the amount and frequency of exercise pets get.

Most pet owners overfeed their pets. It’s important to follow the feeding recommendations made by your veterinarian. Often, free feeding (having unlimited food always available so your pet can eat as they desire) leads to pets consuming more calories than they need. Treats also contribute to your pet’s overall calorie intake and should be taken into account when considering what and how much your pets eat. Giving pets table scraps can also be a contributor to excess calories, especially depending on the types of human food your dog receives. It is also important to be sure that you are knowledgeable about what foods are safe for pets. This avoids accidentally giving your pet something that is toxic to them, such as raisins, grapes, or chocolate.

The average caloric needs for indoor pets who receive approximately 30 minutes of activity a day (i.e. brisk walk) are: Cats that are 10 lb. – 180-200 calories; 10 lb. dogs – 200-275 calories; 20 lb. dogs – 325-400 calories; and 50 lb. dogs – 700-900 calories. These caloric needs are based on adult spayed or neutered pets (who require fewer calories than intact pets). The needs of your individual pet may differ based on breed, lifestyle, genetics, activity level, age, and more. Therefore, it’s important to discuss your pet’s specific diet and calorie requirements with your veterinarian, who will be able to provide you with a tailored diet and exercise program.

Regular exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight. Your dog should be active at least 20 minutes three times a day, with a variety of activities such as a walk or jog, playing fetch, swimming, and playing other games or with toys. Cats should have 15-20 minutes of active playtime or exercise twice a day to stimulate their senses with activities like laser tag or fishing-pole toys.


If your pet is at a healthy weight, you should be able to feel his or her ribs, and when viewed from above, your pet should have a natural “waistline” that curves in past the ribcage. The belly should also slant upwards from the ribcage to the hind legs. If the belly is saggy, it’s a sign of being overweight. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a more detailed review of your pet’s body and provide a Body Condition score – the pet version of a BMI, which is a measure against which to evaluate body fat.

Keeping your pet lean and fit will help extend your pet’s life, keeping them healthier and happier to enjoy each other longer. Pet obesity is one of the top nutritional disorders in pets and is one that can be easily managed and avoided. Speak with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet’s weight and health. Your veterinarian will be able to give you valuable advice and a plan to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Happy Cat Month Is The Purrfect Time To Schedule Your Cat’s Veterinary Check-up - 09/14/2017

This month is a great time to schedule your cat’s routine veterinary check-up and think about any health-related red flags or issues you may have noticed recently in your cat. Providing good health and wellness care for your feline friends can help them live longer, healthier lives.IMG_0485

Many cats don’t receive the level of veterinary care they should, generally because they don’t visit the veterinarian often enough. Routine, preventive care is very important even for healthy cats, and regular veterinary visits are an important part of your pet’s health care. Here are just of few reasons:

~  Cats age at a much quicker rate than humans do, so they should be seen by their veterinarian more often than humans see our doctors. Cats mature very quickly during their first two years of life, generally thought to equate to about 25 human years. After that, one human year is about 4 feline years, so a 5-year-old cat is about like a 37 year-old human, and a 10-year-old cat is about like a 57 year-old person.

~  Cats are very good at hiding pain and illnesses. While you, their pet owner may not notice anything is wrong, veterinarians are trained to spot potential issues before they become difficult to treat. You may not notice a gradual shift in your pet’s behavior until the veterinarian asks specific, pointed questions.

~  Over 50% of cats are overweight or obese. If your cat is among that 50%, your cat is at risk for many conditions including diabetes, heart disease, and more.

~  It’s always preferable to perform preventive care rather than reactive care. It’s much better to detect problems early and avoid emergency situations than to deal with problems after they’ve become an issue. Early detection means treatments are often more successful and less costly.

All cats should have a complete veterinary examination at least once each year, although some cats should be seen more often, depending on individual needs and the particular cat’s health concerns. The veterinary visit should include a review of your cat’s health history, lifestyle, life stage, activities of daily living, general behavior, and diet. The physical examination should include a dental assessment, pain assessment, and body condition scoring. It may also include testing, such as blood tests for heartworm and organ malfunction along with urinalysis, a stool sample to test for intestinal parasites, and screening tests for feline Immunodeficiency Virus and feline Leukemia, as a means of getting a complete picture of your cat’s health. You may need to have your cat’s immunizations brought up to date, and discuss or review ongoing parasite preventions. Any diagnosis for medical issues will be made after all of the information has been gathered and the examination is completed. Your veterinarian will also likely discuss a preventive healthcare plan for your cat going forward, to maintain his or her optimum health.

Veterinary visits don’t need to be stressful or scary for either you or your feline friend. Here are a few tips for reducing the stress of veterinary visits:

~  Understand why your cat gets stressed. The carrier, car ride, and veterinary office are all unfamiliar places with new sounds, smells, and sights, as well as other people and pets. Give your cat a chance to become familiar with the carrier and the car well in advance of the veterinary visit, to help reduce the stress they can cause.

~  Make the carrier more familiar by leaving it out and accessible for your cat will in advance of the veterinary visit. Place familiar toys, bedding, and treats in it, and encourage your cat to check it out, although it may take some time before she or he goes in voluntarily.

~  Make sure your veterinary clinic is well trained in feline-friendly handling and understanding feline-specific behaviors to increase the quality if care for your cat.

Visits to the veterinarian can be pleasant, positive experiences for both you and your cat. Because regular veterinary visits are necessary and important, it’s important to make a visit to the vet, at the very least, an event your cat doesn’t mind rather than one filled with anxiety and fear. For more information please don’t hesitate to call us or schedule an appointment: 480 893-0533.


Happy Cat Month! - 08/30/2017



September is happy cat month! Cats are fabulous companions and pets. As a cat owner, take some time ensure you are dedicated to making certain you have a happy feline friend. Some extra things you can do to add to your cat’s happiness include:

Feed your cat a high-quality diet appropriate for her or his life stage. Review your cat’s diet with your veterinarian to make sure he or she is getting the proper nutrients he or she needs and the right amount and type of food for your cat’s age and lifestyle. Variety is the spice of life, so don’t forget to switch up the flavors of your cat’s wet food, and/or indulge in some different treats.

Provide the other necessities: fresh water and a clean litter box. These may seem to go without mentioning, but think about it; if you’re not providing these necessities and good food, it could be making your cat less content and maybe even sick. No kitty wants to use a dirty litter box, or have unappetizing food or stale, dirty water to drink. Making sure you properly provide the essentials for your cat is the basis for helping your feline pal have a happy life.

Keep your cat in good shape. Play time, exercise, and interactive toys all help provide mental and physical stimulation for your cat. Make time to engage in regular playtime with your cat, like laser tag, but also provide toys that she or he can play with independently, such as treat puzzles.

Provide other entertainment and enrichment for your cat. Make sure your cat has a good spot from which to look out on the world. It’s even better if there is a view of trees where birds and squirrels come to hang out or eat.

Satisfy your cat’s natural instincts. Cats have a natural urge to scratch. Scratching helps them stretch and care for their claws. Even if your cat is declawed, provide a scratching post. The scratching post will satisfy your cat’s predisposition to scratch and, for those of you with cats who haven’t been declawed, it will help save your furniture. The best poles provide perches and hiding places for your cat.

Explore the outdoors. Even if you have an indoor cat, there are ways he or she can explore the big world outside in a safe way. Some cats can be walked on a leash, which provides safe outdoor exploration. If your cat isn’t accepting of the leash, you can try a catio- an enclosed structure or area where your cat can enjoy fresh air, get some exercise, and take in the view of the great outdoors while being safe from predators and the dangers of getting lost.

Regular veterinary visits are very important to keep your cat healthy along with preventive care and medications. Your veterinarian can advise you on your cat’s overall health and wellness, common signs of illness (since cats are experts at hiding pain and illness) as well as provide recommendations on food, treats, and preventive medications, such as flea and heartworm preventives, and vaccines that are appropriate for your special cat.

August 26th Is National Dog Day! - 08/24/2017


National Dog Day was created to celebrate all dogs; large and small, mixed breeds, purebreds, family and companion dogs and all of the working dogs that selflessly provide assistance, services, and keep people safe. It’s also a day to help raise awareness about all of the dogs in rescues and shelters that need loving homes. Dogs are such important parts of our lives, and offer us unconditional love, commitment, acceptance, and companionship, they deserve to be celebrated every day.

There are many ways you can celebrate National Dog Day. Take a look around your community to see what may be going on. Some rescues and shelters waive adoption fees for dogs adopted on that day.

If you have thought carefully about it and discussed pet adoption with family and friends and you’re ready, adopt a dog from a local shelter or rescue organization. Giving a dog a new home and new lease on life is the best gift you can give him or her. However, remember that deciding to adopt a pet is a big responsibility, so be sure to carefully consider and understand the commitment you are making. Pets that are bought hastily or frivolously, or potential owners who aren’t fully aware of the responsibilities that come with a canine companion are some of the reasons so many dogs end up in shelters every year. People sometimes don’t realize how big a puppy will grow to be, or how much a dog may shed or bark; some people didn’t understand the effort required to train and socialize a dog, or the time every day that is needed to devote to a dog, walking, feeding, and spending quality time with them. If you’re interested in adopting a pet, think about it very carefully.

If you aren’t ready or in a position to adopt a dog right now, you can still participate and make a contribution to a local shelter. Donate money, food, supplies, or toys. Another way to contribute is to offer your time to help our walking dogs, playing with them, or whatever they may need. You can also help out in the community, by walking an ill or elderly neighbor or friend’s dog. Contact your local organizations to find out ways you can contribute to the animal welfare work happening in your community.

Don’t forget to give your dog(s) at home a cuddle and spend some quality time with them. Show your love and affection to your furry canine family members. Take your dog(s) for a walk, have a good play session, give them a gentle brushing, bring home a new toy or treat, or spoil them with some extra back scratches or belly rubs. No matter what makes your dog’s tail wag the fastest, what he or she appreciates the most is the time and attention you give to him or her. Celebrate your dog!

Heat Exhaustion and Dogs - 08/02/2017

y3mnbnbyqvwvibg0jp4n5rh2r4a0tgnvxnrvkk5-t-kg7hk9qnyzqpeybrbj3iigi5xvck0_7oc7jlrgj5scp2eelbg16blfnezn0vrieoducvjzg3sqpgeoqsvegdivnyc Arizona’s summer temperatures are soaring! Add to that the humidity we experience this time a year and it can spell danger for your furry friend. Even a short walk makes us hot and in need of a cool drink. Imagine how your dog feels if he or she has to stay outdoors for extended periods of time in the heat.

Overheating goes by many names: heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or heat prostration. It doesn’t matter what you call it- overheating equals trouble for dogs. Extreme heat can cause more than discomfort; it can make dogs ill, and elevated body temperature can be fatal.

What causes heat exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is more likely to occur when both temperature and humidity are high. Increased humidity makes it difficult for the body to cool itself. As humidity increases, the environment feels warmer than it actually is.

When a dog experiences heat exhaustion, his or her body temperature may rise rapidly from about 101.5 degrees F to 104-105 degrees F. When the dog’s body reaches these temperatures, the dog is unable to regulate her or his body temperature, which continues to rise. At these temperatures, internal organs can be damaged and without a quick cool down, major organs may become irreversibly damaged.

One of the most common causes of death due to heat exhaustion is dogs being left in a car in hot weather. Never leave your dog in a car, not even to run a “quick errand.”

Dogs are more prone to heat exhaustion than humans.

Dogs are more prone to heat exhaustion because they don’t regulate their body temperature the same way people do. When humans become overheated, we perspire. The perspiration evaporates helping to cool the body.

In contrast, dogs don’t perspire. Dogs lose excess body heat by panting which isn’t as effective as sweating. Furthermore, they have a fur coat on and they can’t take it off. They can’t turn on a fan or the AC. They can’t pour a tall glass of cool water. They rely on humans to help prevent overheating.

Any dog can experience heat exhaustion: but some are more prone than others. Very young or older pets tend to have more difficulties with overheating, as do overweight dogs. Breeds with short noses such as Boston Terriers, Pugs, Bulldogs, and Shih Tzus don’t dissipate heat as well as long-nosed breeds. Dogs with heavy, thick coats, such as St. Bernards or Huskies, can overheat much more quickly than other dogs.These breeds require extra caution and care during hot and humid weather.

Preventing heat exhaustion in dogs.

It’s our responsibility to protect our dogs from the summer heat, especially dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, or may be prone to heat exhaustion.

Make sure there is plenty of shade in the yard all day and train your dog to rest there by placing his or her water bowl and toys in the shade. Provide a constant supply of fresh water and keep it cool by adding ice cubes to the bowl.

A small plastic kiddie pool works well for dogs that enjoy a quick dip in the water to cool off. If you have a swimming pool, train your dog to swim and to use the steps to exit the pool. Dogs can’t climb ladders, and accidental deaths occur every summer as dogs exhaust themselves when they can’t find the way out of the pool. If your pool only has a ladder, don’t allow your dog to go in the pool unless you can lift him or her out and you are supervising the swim.

Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest times of the day. Take your dog fr walks early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Take shorter walks than usual. Bring a dog water bottle or collapsible water dish with plenty of water and stop frequently for drinks. Avoid the sunny side of the street and find a shaded area to exercise. Give your dog a spray down with the hose when you get home; however, let the water run for a few minutes before spraying your dog as water left sitting in the hose can be hot enough to burn your dog.

Signs of heat exhaustion.

It’s important to recognize the warning signs of heat exhaustion. Dogs that suffer heat exhaustion may exhibit the following signs:  excessive panting, pale gums, increased heart rate, drooling thick, ropey saliva and vomiting. With extreme heat exhaustion, dogs experience breathing difficulties and may become disoriented or non-responsive. They may collapse and be unable to move. In the most difficult cases, dogs become comatose and die.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, provide emergency care and get to your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Immediately move your dog to a cooler area inside an air-conditioned house, under a shade tree, or in front of a fan. Wet your dog with cool (not ice cold) water. Gently wet him or her with a hose or immerse her or him in a tub of cool water. Do not force the dog to drink water. Place wet towels on him or her and drive to your veterinary clinic with the sir conditioner running in your car.

Veterinary care.

Your veterinarian will begin other life-saving measures in the hospital to try to avoid organ damage. This may include an IV with rehydrating fluids, medications to stabilize respiration and shock, and may include a hospital stay for further treatment and laboratory tests to assess organ functions.

Enjoy the Arizona summer and take care to prevent heat exhaustion in your dog and yourself.