With Valley temperatures hitting the triple-digits, we often forget about our extended family members who also enjoy being outdoors. According to the U.S. Humane Society, dogs, cats, and horses are amongst some of the most common pets. Pets offer their love and affection to millions of families around the world and their health and safety is just as important.
Dangers of heat
We probably have noticed that pet ownership here within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is different from other parts of the valley. Pets here on the reservation tend to run more freely and there are higher numbers of stray dogs present.
Some of the most common problems in the valley include leaving pets in locked cars, heat strokes and dehydration.
When asked about the most common problems here in SRPMIC, Jayson Payne, SRFD Deputy Fire marshal responded with, “One of the things we encounter here in the Community is when we go to houses, we see a lot of animals outside without food, water or shelter.”
“If an animal is left in a car and the outside temps are reaching the high nineties into the scorching 100s; the inside of a vehicle can be forty plus (40+) degrees hotter in the vehicle, with all the windows and doors sealed. Even with water in the car; it could lead to death of the animal,” said Steven Perkins, SRPD, Ranger officer.
“If you’re hot, they’re hot,” said Payne.
“If a dog is sick, losing weight, showing signs of sickness it should be taken to a licensed veterinarian. Adequate food and water is based on the size of the animal. I would say rubber/plastic container for clean water because metal can heat up and heat the water and can cause burns, discomfort and [animal may] not want to drink [which could result in] dehydration. Have the container big enough so the animal can’t tip it over thus depleting the water source. Leaving an animal with no shade, no water, and tied to where they cannot reach the above could be construed as causing physical injury,” said Perkins.
Animal cruelty here in SRPMIC is not as common, although it is covered through the SRPMIC Code of Ordinance under Sec. 12-3-Cruelty to Animals and under Arizona State Law ARS 13-2910, where it can be a classified as a criminal offense.
To report animals in unattended cars here in the Community, call SRPD dispatch at (480) 362-9230 or simply call 911.
tips for pet owners:
-Water and shade is a must, this will prevent dehydration, heat strokes and even death.
-Watch all animals around water (canals), snakes and hungry coyotes or other animals.
-All water containers/troughs should be cleaned and maintained on a daily basis, keep in shaded area.
-Keep a closer eye on older and younger pets/animals.
-Doggie booties or allowing animals to walk on grass can prevent burns.
-When traveling, make other arrangements for your pet.
-An inflatable kiddie pool with water can help dogs keep cool in the triple-digit heat
-Depending on what you put your horse through, they will always need more water than you might think.
-Fly masks or fly repellant spray can help keep bugs away.
-Sunscreen is available for light skinned animals.
-Every situation is different depending on what we put our pets through, they cannot talk or express their feelings, so it’s best to use common sense when it comes to heat.