Desert living is unlike anything else in the country. It’s hot, dry and full of critters that don’t typically hang out in a majority of the US. Many people will be traveling with their pets for BlogPaws 2016 in Phoenix, AZ so it’s important to know what could be lurking around the desert landscape. Here are some tips for protecting your dog from the demons in the desert!
Scorpions: Gross, right?! (Most) scorpions look a lost nastier than they really are. The beige/clear ones are practically harmless, while the black ones are poisonous. If you aren’t acquainted with scorpions, they are scary. If you step on one with your bare foot, expect to be stung. It hurts but you’ll be fine 😉 We get a ton of scorpions in our house and it’s worrisome with five animals! While my cats are bug killers, I get nervous for my dogs. Luckily none of them have been stung (knock on wood). So how can you protect your dogs from scorpions? A black light! Let’s say you’re staying at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort for BlogPaws 2016 and you are taking your dog on a nighttime potty stroll. Shine a black light on your path and places that your dog is going to do his business. You will see every scorpion! It may be slightly terrifying if you see quite a few of them, but just leave them alone. If you don’t get to close and cause the scorpion to feel threatened, they will stay away. If your dog does get stung, they will most likely be okay but I would recommend seeking veterinary attention right away.
Snakes: It’s rare that you will see a snake while visiting the Arizona desert. Even if they are around you, most likely you won’t even notice. Much like scorpions, they will mind their business if you mind yours. Many snakes are harmless but if your dog gets bitten, see a veterinarian right away.
Cactus: It is definitely not fun running into a cactus. What’s worse is if your dog runs into a cactus. Wynston always wants to pee on every plant he sees but as soon as he starts walking toward something with thorns or spines (the needles on a cactus), I have to prevent him from going near. If your dog gets cacti spines stuck in their fur and skin, it can be a very painful removal process. I’d recommend keeping your dog from sniffing or going potty on any type of cactus.
Coyotes and mountain lions: A plethora of guests have reported seeing mountain lions and coyotes on or near the grounds of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa. Coyotes are a lot more common than other large desert animals and contrary to popular belief, coyotes will not bother you unless you bother them. (See a common theme here?) It’s highly unlikely that these animals will come anywhere close to you but if they do, just keep going on your way. I was out walking with Wynston one day and a coyote ran right past us! It was literally 5 feet away. It didn’t even slow down or look at us – the coyote just kept running. Small dogs and cats can be prey for coyotes so it’s always smart to keep a watchful eye out just in case.
Spiders: Spiders are everywhere, they are just a bit different in Arizona. Like many places, black widows are a problem. They are poisonous and can easily kill a dog or cat. As long as you aren’t in any dark abandoned corners, I wouldn’t worry too much about black widows. But watch out for the brown recluse, as they are deadly to our pets and have the potential to send a human to the hospital. They are no joke. See a big brown spider on the ground? Run far, far away. A lot of people associate tarantulas with the desert but I will tell you that in the 17 years I’ve lived in Arizona, I’ve never seen one. They are mostly harmless despite their intimidating appearance.
It is very easy to protect our pets from the dangers of the desert. While there are several other critters running around, the ones I listed are the most common. You may want to consider booties for your dog if you will be hiking or site seeing, especially in the hot weather. They will protect your dog’s feet from bugs and hot pavement.
This year I am speaking at the BlogPaws conference so be sure to get registered for three days of networking with brands, socializing with like-minded people, surrounding yourself with pets and interacting with some of the pet industry’s top experts. Use this discount code for 10% off the registration price: BP16-Amb-Amanda10