Dog Days of Summer – Safe Desert Travels with Your Fur Kids

May 2nd, 2019 | By Mindy Timm

Planning a summer vacation in the Phoenix area? No doubt you’ve heard about the heat, but if you’ve never experienced summer in the desert, there are some things you should be aware of – especially if your doggos are along for the trip! Moxie Girl has some important tips to help you and your “best friend” have a safe and enjoyable summer vacation in Arizona.

The Perfect Place to Stay

Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley all have some great “dogs-welcome” vacation rental homes and these cities, in particular, have many restaurants and cafes with pet-friendly patios, too! Before booking your vacation rental, make sure you’re clear on the property’s pet policy.  Some good questions to ask:

Is there a pet deposit required, and how much is it?

How many pets are allowed, and is the required deposit “per pet” or just a general pet deposit?

Is the pet deposit refundable (or not charged) if no pet damage occurs?

Does the property have any weight or breed restrictions?

Wow – They Weren’t Kidding About This Heat…

Nope, not at all! Moxie Girl cannot stress enough the importance of protecting your pet (and yourself) from extreme desert heat.  First and foremost, NEVER, EVER leave your pet in the car! Even if the outside temperature is only 80 degrees, the temperature inside your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees within a matter of minutes, so just DON’T.

Staying hydrated is a must!  Always have plenty of cool, fresh water available for you and your pet, especially when you’re out and about.  Remember, if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already on your way to dehydration…and that’s just a hop and a skip from heat stroke – or worse.

Walk your pet in the early morning hours. Not only is the desert gorgeous at sunrise, but it’s usually also the coolest part of the day. Still, even during the coolest hours asphalt or concrete may be uncomfortably hot for your pet to walk on. Take your shoes off and walk outside.  If your feet are burning, so will your dog’s. Either stay on the grass during your walks or invest in some protective footwear for your pet.

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Creature Features and Weird Plants

Even though your summer vacation rental home may feel as though it’s “in the city” – and it may well be – doesn’t mean you won’t find any critters. Sure, there may neighbors, restaurants, and shopping nearby, but please be advised that our desert wildlife pays no mind. Coyotes, javelina  (wild desert boars) and various birds of prey are regularly spotted in well-populated areas around the valley, so NEVER leave your pet unattended outside.

Early mornings sightings are common, so pay special attention to your surroundings when walking your pet.  If you should happen upon a coyote or javelin, don’t panic. They’re generally not aggressive unless they feel threatened, but then again they’re not called “wildlife” for nothing.  It’s always best to stay quiet and calmly but firmly guide your pet in the other direction. If you feel threatened by these creatures, know that they can usually be dispersed by a loud noise, such as banging a heavy stick on a metal sign or fence if necessary.

Oh, and we also have scorpions and snakes.  Don’t freak out, but definitely steer clear of either of those.  Scorpion stings can be dangerous and are always painful.  While many desert snakes are harmless, unless you’re versed in herpetology, take no chances. One of the most dangerous snakes in the Southwest is the rattlesnake and they blend in quite well with the desert landscape, so keep a close eye on and around your path.

Pets can be curious, and cactus is unique! Keep plenty of space between you and your pet and anything that looks spiny or full of thorns.

Stormy Weather

Summer monsoon storms can quickly come out of nowhere, bringing blowing dust, heavy rain, booming thunder and spectacular lightning strikes.  You and your pet are safest indoors during these events and your pet may appreciate some extra TLC – these storms can be loud and scary!

If a monsoon storm is predicted, making a few simple preparations in case of a power outage is a great idea.  A fully charged cell phone is a good place to start.  Think about what you and your pet might want to have close at hand should you find yourselves in the dark for a few hours and gather those items in a comfy spot you’ve chosen to wait out the storm.

Moxie Girl hopes our tips for summer travel with pets have you feeling excited and well-prepared for a fantastically fun getaway with your whole family. Check out other blogs for more helpful hints for enjoying your Phoenix summer vacation rental!