As the summer temperatures slowly start to creep in, Glendale firefighters took time to educate locals on how to protect their four-legged friends from heatstroke. Firefighters held a free informative workshop April 4 at Thunderbird Conservation Park. Firefighters brought fire K-9s to demonstrate how to properly care for pets in the intense heat of summer. Participating K-9s included Topaz, Koa, and Brewer. Their handlers showed the public how to properly protect their pets while they enjoy the outdoors.
Firefighters demonstrated how dogs and pets should wear protective booties on the paws to keep their soft pads from burning on the hot concrete and desert stone.
The fire department said this is the time of year when many people enjoy the outdoors with their animals.
Michael Young, public information officer with the Glendale Fire Department, discussed the event.
“We wanted to remind the community about the dangers of strenuous activities in the heat, while providing safety information and tips on how to prevent an animal heat emergency from occurring,” Young said.
Firefighters said that every year, hundreds of animals die from heat stroke. Firefighters said in 2011, three dogs died on hiking trails in Glendale alone. For every one incident reported, there are dozens of animal fatalities that go unnoticed. Animals are very similar to small children when it comes to their intolerance of the heat, and most of the time, when an animal shows signs of heat exhaustion, it is often too late.
Firefighters said it is important to make sure pets have access to plenty of water, and to keep them inside during the hottest parts of the day. Pets with short or no hair and pink skin should also be protected with sunscreen. Firefighters said dogs and cats with short snouts, such as Pugs and Persians, have a difficult time panting, and it is easier for them to become overheated. Unlike humans, dogs and cats do not sweat to help their bodies cool off. Instead, they emit heat from their paw pads, and by panting.
Firefighters said it is also important to practice water safety with animals. While many owners will take a dip in the pool with their pets to cool them off, it is important to always supervise animals around water. Many times, they can become trapped and not have the ability or knowledge of how to get back out. Pets can easily become exhausted and drown without supervision.
For more information on summer pet care safety, visit www.glendaleaz.com/fire/news/CrisisResponseDog.cfm#tips.