When the weather warms up, more people take their dogs out to enjoy the sun. But when it gets really hot, it’s important to make sure pets don’t overheat.
Swimming is a great way for pets and people to cool off, and that’s why the Valley Animal Center’s wading pool is popular.
“It’s pretty much the hotspot of the park,” says Nina Tonnu, community relations coordinator at the center.
The Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park wading pool holds more than 2,000 gallons and features fountains and jets. Dogs can wade near the edge, or go paws first in the deep end. Solar panels near the pool double as permanent shade shelters.
On hot summer days, the pool is a godsend for pet owners. Friday wasn’t too bad (a high of 93 in Fresno), but temperatures are set to climb all weekend long and into next week, getting up to 104 by Wednesday.
Ardell Perkins comes from Sanger to the park a couple times a week with her Maltese poodle mix Indy.
“He’s the greeter. He’s got to say hi to all the dogs,” Perkins says.
Indy spent Thursday afternoon running into the shallow water to fetch toys Perkins had thrown in. Perkins says he only goes in chest deep, but Perkins and Indy still are working on getting him out deeper.
Perkins adopted Indy from the SPCA last December, when she estimates Indy was about a year old. She has been a member of the Valley Animal Center dog park for only a couple of weeks, but says she loves it.
So does Indy, judging by how excited he was to play in the water with other dogs.
Tonnu says pet owners can do things at home, too, to keep pets cool. If dogs are left outside during the day, make sure they have enough shade, and also note that shade can move throughout the day.
Putting water in a deeper bowl helps, too. Water in shallow bowls can heat up faster. Tonnu also recommends putting ice cubes or frozen gel packs in water bowls (but make sure your dog doesn’t try to bite or chew the gel pack).
Walk dogs in the morning or evening, when the pavement is cooler. Tonnu says a good rule of thumb when debating if it’s too hot to walk your dog is to ask if you would walk barefoot at the same time. If it’s too hot for bare feet, it’s too hot for dogs’ paws.
The dog park has a membership entrance fee of $35 (annual) or $5 (daily). Dogs have to be temperament-tested before they can be accepted into the dog park. The Valley Animal Center also has two shelters on-site.