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Caring for your dogs in Southern Arizona’s extreme heat

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TUCSON - With an excessive heat warning in effect for Southern Arizona, it is important now more than ever to make sure your pets are safe when you walk them outside.

Many dog breeds are not native to the Arizona desert and when it gets as hot as it does outside, it is possible that dogs can burn their paws and even get heat stroke.

Mariana Pardo is a veterinarian and she said it is very important to check the ground that the dogs will walk on before they cross it.

"More than anything, it's going to depend on the ground they are walking on more than the actual temperature outside," Doctor Pardo said.

"One of the best ways for owners to really assess if it is too hot is for them to actually use the back of their hands or their bare feet and step on where the dog will for 10 seconds," she said.

If temperatures are over 100 degrees, the asphalt could reach temperatures near 160, plus heat stroke can be a big issue.

Valorie Lawson, a local dog owner, experienced this first-hand. 

"I told my husband once on our boxer not to do it, and he did it," Lawson said. "He had to run home to get the truck so we can put the dog in the car so we can get it home and get his body temperature down."

Heat stroke in dogs varies by breed and boxers are one of the breeds that are highly susceptible.

"Any pet that has a very smushed face, so most of your bulldogs, French bulldogs and boxers, are going to be at a really high risk for developing heat stroke because dogs eliminate a lot of their excess heat by panting," said Doctor Pardo.

Daniel McFarland

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