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Welcome to Gilbert! In you’re new to the state, you’re on board to see an abundance of natural beauty all around you. However, Arizona is home to numerous plants, animals, and weather conditions that can be dangerous to canines big and small. From scorpions and tarantulas, plant predators to extreme heat, and Valley Fever, these are just a few of the state’s greatest dangers to your pet. The best way to keep your dog safe is to be knowledgeable about your new home so that you’re prepared in the event of an emergency.

Scorpions and Tarantulas
Though most species of scorpions aren’t poisonous to humans, the Arizona bark scorpion can be a dangerous adversary to your dog. Brown in color and about 7-8 centimeters in length, their sting is very painful and can cause drooling, itchiness, tremors, irregular eye movement, and abnormal heartbeat and blood pressure. They like to hide in cool areas like under brush, rocks, and tree bark. If your pup encounters a sting, apply ice, and call a vet for further advice.
Tarantulas pose two main threats to your dog: They have barbed abdominal hairs, causing extreme irritation, and fatal venom administered through bites. Often, an inquisitive dog will walk away with a face full of barbed hairs by either making contact with an introductory sniff or when the tarantula gets on his hind legs and brushes the hair off his abdomen toward your pup. The hairs are not only itchy and irritating, but also very difficult to remove. If your dog is attacked by a tarantula, get to a vet immediately to safely remove the hairs or treat the bite.
Plant Predators
There are more than 700 species of plants that can sicken or kill pets. In Arizona, part of the problem is a lack of grass, causing bored, curious, or ill dogs to instead ingest an unfamiliar shrub or flower. These dangerous plants may cause symptoms like drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea, or cause serious problems like kidney, liver, or heart failure. Never let your dog approach a plant you aren’t familiar with, even if it’s just a sniff, or let your dog drink directly from a creek, lake, or other natural source.
Extreme Heat
Probably the biggest weather risk your pooch faces in Arizona is extreme heat. Introduce your pup to the new climate as gradually as possible, especially if you come to the area in the summer. Pets with short, light-colored fur, especially on their ears, are especially susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer. Talk to your vet about a good dog sunscreen if you think yours may be at risk.
One of the most important things to remember is to never, under any circumstance or deadline, leave your dog in a parked car. On a warm day, car interior temperatures can rise rapidly to dangerous levels, even with a window cracked, and the longer you’re gone, the hotter it gets. Leaving a dog in this condition is not only cruel torture, but it can also cause irreversible organ damage and even death in less than five minutes. Another good rule of thumb is that if the pavement is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet! 
Valley Fever 
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that lives in the desert soil in the southwestern United States. Like people, dogs are very susceptible to Valley Fever. As part of its life cycle, the fungus grows in the soil and dries into fragile strands of cells. The strands are very delicate, and when the soil is disturbed – by digging, walking, construction, high winds – the strands break apart into tiny individual spores. Dogs and other animals mainly acquire Valley Fever by inhaling these fungal spores in the dust and air. The dog may inhale only a few spores or many hundreds. The most common early symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs: coughing, fever, weight loss, lack of appetite, and lack of energy.

Gilbert Dog Parks

Cosmo Park 
2502 E. Ray Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296
Named after Gilbert’s first police dog, a local hero named Cosmo, Cosmo Park has become a true celebration of dogs. Featuring a brick memorial that acts as a special place for residents who have lost furry friends to reflect and lights that have been decorated to mimic dog toys, paw prints are seen everywhere. The entire 17-acre park is centered around dogs, ranking it the Fourth Best Dog Park in the United States. The park features fenced-off leash areas, a sandy beach on a lake and two dog washing stations. Even the more shy and timid dogs have a designated section of the park to mingle and to help get accustomed to being around other dogs.

Crossroads Park 
2155 E. Knox Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296
Crossroads District Park opened in 1992 and includes a small dog park with two fenced-off leash areas with separate use areas for active and timid dogs. “Mutt-Mitt” waste disposal stations and owner/pet drinking fountains are available, along with partial lighting for night use. The park, while super dog-friendly, is also home to AZ Ice Gilbert, basketball and volleyball courts, multi-use fields for soccer, baseball and softball, ramadas with grills, and a shaded play area for kids. 

Animal Rescue Services

Aimees Farm Animal Sanctuary
(480) 539-4245

Freedom Tails Rescue
(480) 688-6663 /

Friends For Life Animal Rescue
(480) 497-8296 /

Help A Dog Smile  
(480) 788-0207 /

We’re The Cat’s Meow Pet Rescue
(480) 278-9744 /

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue
(866) 926-8007 /

Local Tip: 
"Zinburger in Downtown Gilbert will bring bowls of water out to your dogs if you eat on their outdoor patio." 
– Amanda C.  

Pet Tip:
"I love coming to Cosmo Dog Park because of all the free running space to explore and jump in the water if I want. I also love the timid dog area for days I’m feeling shy or antisocial." – Harley
– Hazel American Stafordshire Terrier (cousin of the Pit Bull)