Keeping Pets Cool and Safe in Arizona’s Climate

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

For everyone with a beloved pet at home, keeping them healthy and happy should be a number one priority. There are many ways with which to make sure your pet stays healthy including taking them for regular veterinarian visits, keeping them on a balanced and nutritious diet and making sure they get enough exercise. We go to the doctor for check-ups and we eat healthy and exercise to stay healthy. If we love our pets, we should do a little bit of the same for them.


Depending on where you live, there may be some extra steps you have to take when caring for pets. Here in the Arizona heat, it is paramount that pets have access to lots of water and are kept out of the sun, especially when their owners are leaving for extended periods of time.

Today we will be discussing the dos and don’ts of pet health care with the help of Dr. Karin Burns and Dr. Billy Griswold of Priority Pet Hospital in Gilbert, Arizona.

Do Keep pets Hydrated

A good fresh bowl of cool water is usually enough, but the trouble with this time of year is that the water can get pretty hot. Not that hot water is dangerous, but it’s just less appealing. You can always put ice cubes in the water, there’s no real health risks to drinking ice water. You’ll find some reports on the Internet that say it’s dangerous but there’s really nothing to those reports. There is also a device you can get that screws on to the spigot where you would attach a hose that has a bar on it, and when your dog licks it or puts their nose on it, water will run out for them.

Don’t Let Pets Drink from a recently Shocked or Treated Pool with Algaecide; Do Allow if Well Maintained

A questions we get often: “Is it okay for my pet to drink pool water?” For a chlorine pool, as long as it’s maintained within the recommended ranges, it’s fine. Here in Chandler I used our pool testing kit to test our tap water and it came back with the same results as a well maintained pool. Tap water is what we’re putting in our dog and cat’s bowls. As long as it hasn’t recently been shocked or treated with algaecide or any other chemical, a well maintained pool is okay for them to drink from. It’s okay for them to drink from a pool with a salt system too. In a salt system the amount of salt is negligible. It would be like putting a pinch of salt in your glass of water. They can probably taste the salt, but it’s not enough to hurt them.

 Don’t Walk Your Pets during Peak Heat Times of the Day

First, no one should be walking their pets between noon and 4 p.m. in the Arizona heat. It goes hand in hand with heat exhaustion and overheating because that middle of the day period when the sidewalk is very hot is also the time when they’re prone to overheating. Plus, walking on that hot of a pavement can burn the pads on the bottom of their feet. Holding something that is 100 to 150 degrees will burn a person’s hands and if you have to run across the street barefoot it hurts.

If you HAVE to walk your pet during that time, be conscious of your pace. Don’t stop at the mailbox and chat with your neighbor for 20 minutes. You’ll actually see your pet shifting from foot to foot if you do that, which is an indication that their feet hurt. Instead of keeping them on the pavement, you can shoot for walking them in the grass where you can walk next to them on the sidewalk. You can also restrict your activities to the early hours of the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn’t beating down on the sidewalk.

Do Provide Shade for Your Pet if they are Outdoor Pets

As long as they are hydrated, used to the heat, and the shade is reasonably deep, leaving pets out is okay. For example a Palo Verde tree would be okay, but a wispy little tree that just provides filtered shade is probably not enough.

If no shade is available, the next best thing you could do is leave a kiddie pool with water in it for your dog. Outdoor cats will find shade on their own, but dogs can’t leave the yard. Dogs don’t sweat like humans, they have evaporative cooling. The only place they have sweat glands is between their toes, and most of their cooling comes from their tongue when they pant.

If they get wet, their whole body becomes an evaporative surface which can help them cool off pretty well. During summer months in Arizona,  if we are going to take our dogs on a walk we will throw something into the pool so they jump in and then take off for our walk while they are wet. As they dry off, that evaporation of the water will keep them cool while out and about.

Don’t consider a dog house as Shade

Dog houses provide shade but even if it’s shady it’s going to be hotter inside the dog house than outside. Something that would be better is creating a shade structure. You can take a four foot by eight foot sheet of plywood and create a lean-to which would be better than a dog house because it provides that deep shade as well as airflow.


Do Teach Your Pooch to Swim

Cats normally don’t like or go near the water, but most dogs, like humans, are capable of learning how to swim. (Some breeds may not have the capability to swim or to learn how to swim). By and large most dogs can swim, but some are naturals and others aren’t. I think the mistake people make is that they think every dog knows how to swim.

Just like people, if a dog can’t swim and they fall in the pool they panic and their first response is to try and climb out. Usually they can’t pull themselves out and if nobody’s there to pull them out they’ll work and work until they get exhausted and sink.

What I recommend is to first teach them to not be fearful of the water. Have them get on the steps first before you try to toss them in the pool. It’s handy if someone can wade out into the shallow end and coax them off the steps or even carry them out into the shallow end and let them go in the direction of the steps with someone there calling them.

The best thing to do is teach your dog not to panic and to swim around the side of the pool until they find the steps. With a harness that has a handle or even a doggie life vest you can set them in the pool and have them follow you around the edge while you have a treat in hand. Something else I suggest to folks is to give them a landmark. When they are in the pool they don’t look down so they can’t see where the steps are. They have to keep their nose up so they can breathe. If you give them a landmark like a patio chair or a parking cone near the steps that they can focus on it can be very helpful.

Don’t Keep Your Pets in Cars

During Arizona’s hottest months I simply say don’t take your pets with you in the car. It’s not worth the risk and it’s not worth the people that yell at you when you come back to your car. We’ve been yelled at before, years ago, when we left our dog in the car with the air conditioning running and the doors locked when it wasn’t even the hottest time of year. We came back and a lady was there waiting to yell at us. We didn’t mention to her that we were veterinarians and had things under control; but it’s true that anything can happen. They can lock themselves in the car accidentally among other things. I think that’s what gets people in trouble. They think, “I’m just going to go around the corner to the drive-in teller at the bank, I’ll take the dog with me” and then they have a brain fart on the way home and they forget the dog in the car.

And, leaving windows open doesn’t help. In parking lots, if you leave your car windows down you either run the risk of leaving them down so much your pet can jump out, or the windows not being open enough to the point where there’s no airflow. Unless you’ve got a person who can sit with them in the car with the air conditioning on and the car idling while you’re running errands, it’s just not a good idea to take them with you this time of year.

Don’t Forget Dogs have a Different Cooling Anatomy

We see a lot of our heat-related injuries in dogs happen during the late spring and when the weather is beautiful at only 85 or 90 degrees. That range is great for people and as a result they will take their dogs out in the middle of the day thinking that it’s not that hot out. The dogs, though, have the sun beating down on them and they’re not sweating so they can easily overheat at 85 degrees with exercise. We on the other hand won’t overheat because we sweat. The other time we see a peak in dogs overheating is when the monsoons roll in. Dogs that are accustomed to the heat run into trouble because their evaporative cooling from their tongue doesn’t work as well in the humidity.

Don’t Expose Your Pets to too Much Sun

Pets can get sunburns and also tumors, basically skin cancer, from getting too much exposure to the sun, just like people. Sometimes people completely shave their pets’ fur down, but that fur is what protects them from the heat and sun, just like it protects them from the cold. If you have a pet with a decent-sized coat and all of a sudden shave it down and they mainly reside outdoors, they are more susceptible to sunburn. To protect your pets from the sun you can have them wear a shirt, or even use baby sunblock. The only problem with most sunblock is that it contains zinc and dogs can get zinc toxicity if they eat a lot of it, so look for sunblock that doesn’t contain zinc.

Pets are precious to us, another member of our family. Keeping them safe and happy can take a lot, but as pet parents we have to be up to the challenges. More steps to maintain our pets’ health exist, but these do’s and don’ts serve as key points to keeping our furry friends happy in our Arizona climate.

Arizona Farm Bureau members, remember we have a pet benefit. To find out about how Arizona Farm Bureau helps pet owners maintain their pets’ health check out our member benefit called USAPetMeds.


Posted in Animals | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Recipes Every College Student Should Know how to Make

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Whether you are a college student living at home, living on your own or living on campus, it can be very hard to eat healthy. After a full day of classes, many students rush directly to work and pick up their favorite greasy fast food on the way. When you do have some free time, you probably don’t want to spend it trying to make some fancy meal, but microwaved left-over’s aren’t making the cut either.


It can get very hard to keep the balance between easy-to-make and healthy. I know snacks have become a big part of my life as a college student, and I can imagine how many others are substituting a bag of potato chips for lunch, but in all truth, that’s not in the least bit healthy, and you know it.

So if you are struggling to find that balance between something that’s easy to make, will fill you up, and is also healthy, look no further! Here is a list of the 10 recipes every college student should know how to make.


  1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  2. Chicken Quesadilla
  3. Mac and Cheese in a Mug
  4. Perfectly Fried Eggs
  5. Chicken Breasts
  6. Salad
  7. Pancakes
  8. Cake in a Mug
  9. Tacos in a Bag
  10. Oatmeal


Of the ten, the ingredients are minimal, under an hour to make and each one could be made in a dorm room with only a microwave or hot plate.

Posted in Chicken, Cooking, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Arizona Food Prices are Up 6 percent in the Third Quarter of 2015

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Be...

Public domain photograph of various meats. (Beef, pork, chicken.) Source: (via Public domain declaration: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arizona retail food prices at the supermarket are up in the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey. The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 basic grocery items was $54.57, up $3.69 or about 6.5 percent more than the second quarter of 2015.

While American Farm Bureau’s survey this quarter showed a slight decrease ($54.14) compared to Arizona’s, American’s is only 43 cents less than Arizona’s marketbasket.

“Meat protein is the area where prices are up the most here in Arizona,” says Julie Murphree, Communications Director for the Arizona Farm Bureau. “When our meat prices are up it impacts the entire survey because they are the bulk of the survey total. But remember during the holidays grocery stores will offer discounted meats anywhere from five to seven days prior to the big event, especially turkey and ham. In our beef offerings, there are 29 lean cuts and several of those beef cuts are well priced for Arizona families and the holidays.”

Of the 16 items surveyed in Arizona, seven decreased, eight increased and one remained the same compared to the 2015 second quarter survey.

In Arizona, off-the-shelf prices for milk showed the greatest decrease in price down 55 cents to $2.42 a gallon; eggs were down 55 cents to $2.42 a dozen; white bread down 9 cents to $1.11 a 20-oz loaf; toasted oat cereal down 8 cents to $ 3.13 a 8-9-.9 oz box; ground chuck down 6 cents to 4.09 a pound; bacon down 4 cents to $4.44 a pound; and potatoes down 1 cent to $2.67 a 5-pound bag.

“As we prepare for the holiday season, remember Arizona Farm Bureau’s has searchable recipes, many featuring holiday recipes from our generational Arizona farm families,” said Murphree.  “Eating at home as a family can help you manage your food budget better. We’ve also made our Farmers’ Market listing on searchable. Fill Your Plate features a new Friday’s Food Fact section that can help families know more about their food and Arizona agriculture.”

Sirloin roast showed the largest price increase up $1.67 cents to $7.65 a pound. The other items that increased in price were deli ham up 85 cents to $4.77 a pound; salad mix up 58 cents to $2.98 a pound bag; flour up 47 cents to $2.48 a 5-pound bag; apples up 44cents to $ 1.69 a pound; orange juice up 36 cents to $3.38 a half gallon; shredded cheese up 20 cents to $5.34 a pound; and boneless chicken breast up 12 cents to $3.24 a pound.

Vegetable oil remained the same in the third quarater at $ 2.12 for the 32 oz bottle.

The year-to-year direction of the Marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home.

“In the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. That figure has decreased steadily and is now just 16 percent, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s revised Food Dollar Series Department statistics,” explains John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Economist.  The USDA’s new Food Dollar Series may be found online at

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the Arizona farmer’s share of this quarter’s $54.57 Marketbasket total would be $8.73.

The Farm Bureau Market Basket Survey is unscientific, but serves as a gauge of actual price trends across the state. Arizona’s bargain shoppers statewide should find individual items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages and certainly cheaper with discounts and in-store specials. Arizona Farm Bureau seeks to identify the best in-store price, excluding promotional coupons and special deals.

Related Posts:

Posted in Marketbasket | Tagged | Leave a comment

Attend These Festivals to Show Support for AZ Wine Makers

Arizona’s wine industry is growing, and if you haven’t tried it yet you are missing out!

Closeup of a glass of wine and a bottle pouring. Out of focus wi

We have a list of upcoming festivals that will offer you an opportunity to try some of Arizona’s finest.


Patagonia Fall Festival
October 9 – 11

The Town of Patagonia held its first fall festival 27 years ago. The purpose of the festival is to showcase extraordinary talent and artistry against the beautiful backdrop of the Patagonia community, which is nestled at over 4000 feet in the mountains of Southeast Arizona.

The festival hosts top-of-the-line entertainment on each day of the event. Entertainers represent a great mix of styles sure to please every taste. The arts and crafts exhibitors bring you the most unique and unusual high quality desirables, produced with excellent care, creativity and craftsmanship. There will also be a special area set aside for not-for-profit and information booths as well as the famed Patagonia Library book sale.

This festival also features food and beverage vendors for every taste along with the offerings of Patagonia’s well-known eateries such as the Velvet Elvis, Gathering Grounds, Wild Horse, Mercedes, Ovens of Patagonia, and the Wagon Wheel Saloon. The Beer and Wine Garden will have booths set up from the Arizona Wine Growers Association, Coronado Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Golden Rule Vineyards, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Su Vino, Wilhelm Vineyards, and more.

The festival helps support the activities of the Patagonia Area Business Association (PABA) such as their new Visitor’s Center. It also helps support the Park Preservation Fund of the Town of Patagonia. Funds will be utilized to preserve, maintain and improve the park’s trees and landscaping as well as its facilities.


Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival
October 17 – 18

The Willcox Wine Country Festival is a two-day fun-filled event at historic Railroad Park in downtown Willcox. Just an hour’s drive east of Tucson on I-10 – the Willcox Wine Country Festival is a perfect getaway for Phoenix & Tucson residents. It’s not too far, but feels a world away.

Admission to the festival is FREE – listen to music, browse vendors featuring locally grown and made products, and browse wine booths without charge. There are several downtown shops and cooperative events within walking distance. Tasting glasses and tickets may be purchased for $20-$25.

Choose from over 50 wines from 15 Arizona wineries! Participating wineries (subject to change): Aridus Wine Company, Bodega Pierce, Carlson Creek Vineyard, Cellar 433, Coronado Vineyards, Deep Sky Vineyard, Golden Rule Vineyards, Keeling Schaefer Vineyards, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Passion Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Company, Sand-Reckoner Vineyards, Sierra Bonita Vineyards and Zarpara Vineyard.


The Arizona Wine Growers Grand Wine Festival
November 21 – 22

This year’s wine festival (Formally the Festival at the Farm) will be held at the historic Crowne Plaza Phoenix Chandler Golf Resort. They are still in the works on this one and more details and ticket information will be released over the next two weeks. Check in with their website posted above or their Facebook page,, for more information.


Tempe Festival of the Arts
December 4 – 6

As many as 400 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a distinctive shopping experience.

While the Tempe Festival of the Arts focuses on visual art and the artists who create it, there also is a wide variety of other activity for guests to enjoy. Live entertainment provides fun for festival-goers. Performances throughout the venue keep audiences in high spirits throughout the day. In addition to the Festival Stage, street performers, food and beverage vendors, sponsor exhibits, and entertainment booths are set up for the amusement of Festival visitors.

You can enjoy The Art of Beer featuring local microbrewery sampling and sales or visit the Arizona Wine Festival for tastings and sales by the glass, bottle, or case. The Arizona Wine Festival partners with eight of Arizona’s best wineries to complement the ambiance of a fine arts festival environment! Wine Tasting is $12 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative tasting glass. The Arizona Wine Festival is located on 7th Street, just West of Mill Avenue.


Anyone may enter. Patrons 21 years of age and older can sample, be served by the glass, and purchase bottles or cases of wine made from grapes grown exclusively in Arizona. Please drink responsibly.



Posted in Arizona Food and Farm Events, Events, Just For Fun, Wine | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Desert to Dish at Omni Scottsdale Resort

Omni Scottsdale Resort invites you to enjoy a weekend crafted specifically for the “foodie” in you this October 22 – 24, 2015.


In partnership with the James Beard Foundation, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia will be hosting their 1st annul Desert to Dish Event.

With Camelback Mountain as its backdrop, this food and wine weekend offers an unmatched foodie experience.
“Desert to Dish” festivities will offer guests a range of true farm-to-table culinary dining experiences including a tour of Arizona farms, interactive chef-led cooking classes, exclusive pairing dinners, and one-of-a-kind interactive opportunities with six renowned chefs from across the country. The weekend is capped off with a live culinary competition featuring an indigenous secret ingredient, with the final vote resting in the hands of the guests.
Proceeds from Desert to Dish will support the James Beard Foundation’s scholarship program and other educational initiatives.
For a schedule of events and additional information you can visit Follow Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to experience more #DesertToDish.
Posted in Arizona Food and Farm Events, Events, FoodieCast, Fun and Games | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment