Caption: Cactus spines are painful in the nose or paw
The Preserves are a great place to spend time with your dog, and most of the Phoenix desert preserve system is open to dogs. However, the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail and sections of the Freedom Trail are closed to dogs and mountain bikes.
We have now entered hot weather season in the Phoenix desert preserves, and dogs are especially susceptible to heat.
If you do head out with your dog, remember the preserves are more crowded than ever, and complaints about off-leash dogs are common. Even when the trails look empty, there’s always someone around the next bend. People on horseback, mountain bikers, and hikers with leashed dogs are some of the users at risk from an off-leash dog, even a friendly one. Please be a good neighbor – keep your dog leashed at all times.
There are lots of other good reasons to keep your dogs leashed:
- It’s the law. The city’s leash law applies to all Phoenix parks and desert/mountain preserves. Read Phoenix City Code 8-14 pertaining to dogs in parks.
- An unleashed dog can more easily end up with a rattlesnake bite or a paw full of cactus needles.
How to keep your dog safe during the hot weather months:
- The best safety step you can take for your dog is to leave your pet at home during hot weather. It could save its life.
- Bring at least 18 ounces of water for your pet for every hour of planned walking
- They need plenty of water too.
- Always hike early in the day when shade is more prevalent. Temperatures in full sun can be 10-15 degrees hotter than the official shade temperature.
- Feel the ground with your hand. If the ground is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your dogs’ paws.
- If you must hike with your pet, hike only for short periods of time.
- Acclimate your dog to heat slowly - Know your pets’ abilities.
- Keep your dog leashed at all times.
Signs your dog may be suffering from heat exposure:
- Fast, rapid panting
- Anxious expression / Whining
- Failure to respond to commands
- Fatigue / Bright red tongue / Collapse
- Muscle tremors or staggering