Living in a desert-like state like Arizona can pose a number of threats to a pet outdoors, from weather hazards to wildlife dangers. Consider the following five outdoor pet safety tips to keep your four-legged friend safe this season, and give us a call if you have any questions. A Spanish Trail Pet Clinic team member will be happy to assist you.
Every year, hundreds of dogs and cats in the Tucson areas are bitten by rattlesnakes. Protect your pet from rattlesnakes by keeping them on a leash during your walks. Always watch where you put your hands and feet, too, especially if there are wood piles or deep grass in your path. If you see a snake or hear its rattle near your path, gently tighten your grip on your pet’s leash and slowly walk away from the snake. If the snake bites your pet, contact the nearest emergency veterinarian immediately for treatment.
The summer months in Arizona can reach 100 degrees of dry heat, which can cause pets—or anyone, for that matter—to dehydrate if there isn’t sufficient water intake. Always bring plenty of water with you when you go outside with your pet. If you plan to leave your pet outside alone during the day, make sure there’s a sheltered area and a large, secured bowl of fresh water available for them. Keep in mind that short-nosed breeds are more at risk for heat exhaustion, so it’s best to limit these dogs’ time outside to only a few minutes on a hot day.
Many Arizona tarantula species are venomous and contain barbed hairs on their body. If disturbed by your pet, they can release these barbed hairs, which can become embedded on your pet’s face. This can result in extreme irritation or even pain. Most tarantulas burrow underground, so while you’re taking your dog for a walk, steer clear of areas in the ground where holes are present.
Scorpions are common in the desert, especially in crevices and under rocks. When a poisonous scorpion stings, it can result in painful swelling or worse for your pet, so always be on the lookout near these areas. If your pet ever gets stung, there are first aid measures that you can take to alleviate the pain. These include applying a thick paste to the sting area, gently restricting your pet’s movements to prevent the spread of the venom, and preventing your pet from licking the sting area. Fortunately, most scorpion venom isn’t life-threatening.
Colorado River Toads
These poisonous amphibians are most common during the summer rains and desert monsoon season. If disturbed (licked, picked up by your dog, etc.), the Colorado River toad releases its toxin—referred to as bufotenine—as a defense mechanism. If not treated immediately, this toxin can result in seizures, hyperthermia, and even death. Always be cautious around areas with water, which is where these toads thrive, and check your yard regularly to be sure no toads are around. If your pet ever comes in contact with a Colorado River toad’s venom, call the nearest emergency veterinarian or Spanish Trail Pet Clinic at (520) 722-2771.