Picture it: You’re getting ready to move cross-country with your family to your new home in Arizona. You’ve considered everything, from the schools to the kids, to mapping the quickest commutes to work and your favorite stores. Then, your best furry friend jumps into your lap and hits you with “what about me?” eyes. Ah, yes, the dog. Have you considered what moving to Arizona with a dog will be like?

This article has all the information you need to move to Arizona with a dog. You’ll learn how to tackle the moving process, protect your dog from the desert heat and local pests, pet registration, and dog-friendly places to explore with your pooch.

A Black father and daughter play with their pet beagle (Moving to Arizona with a dog)

Understanding how your dog’s needs are going to change once you move to Arizona is important (Photo credit: bernardbodo)

Moving to Arizona with a dog – how to prep

If you’re planning to fly your dog to your new home, you’ll want to check with the airline about its crate specifications. Flying is stressful for a dog, so you may wish to consult your vet about medications. Even mild sedation might be the trick to keep your dog calm on a long trip. In addition, ensure your dog has water and one or two articles of comfort (a favorite toy or a shirt that smells like you can help).

If you’re driving, remember that routine is key to keeping stress at bay. If you always go for a morning walk, do your best to maintain that with your pet before hitting the road each day. Allow ample time at rest stops for outside time and try to keep meals at the same time as you did before the move. Stock up on chews and snuffle mats to ease the boredom. A snuffle mat can come in all types of shapes and has places within the fabric to hide treats. They’re great mental exercise for your pet.

Do I need to register my dog in Arizona?

Arizona state law requires all dogs over three months of age to be registered and vaccinated for rabies. So, what happens if you don’t register? Dog owners must apply for an application within 15 days of vaccination. Failure to do so is a class 2 misdemeanor, resulting in the owner facing a maximum penalty of $22 if caught. The license is valid for one year, so don’t forget to renew it.

A golden labrador retriever drinking out of a water bottle (Moving to Arizona with a dog)

Carry plenty of water for yourself and your dog when you’re out on hot days (Photo credit: Chalabala)

Beating the heat – protecting your pup

Humans have sweat glands to cool themselves off in the brutal desert heat. But dogs can only pant to lower their temperature. When a dog pants, it brings small amounts of air into the lungs to help cool the body. As a result, dogs can develop heat stroke more quickly than most species because dogs lack sweat glands that allow the skin and body to cool themselves down.

It’s critical that you protect your dog from the oppressive Arizona sunshine. That means never leaving your dog alone in the car, even when you think it’s safe. Leaving your windows down or parking in a shady spot won’t be enough to keep things cool. Inside a car, a relatively pleasant day of 77°F can feel like 105°F within minutes. This temperature will cause dogs to go into heatstroke.

If you’re out in the heat and your dog shows signs of distress, put the air conditioning on, spray your dog down with water or stop and go for a swim to lower their body temperature as soon as possible and get to a cool environment. Seek veterinary care as quickly as possible.

Arizona is known for its spectacular warm weather. In cities such as Phoenix, summer stretches from April to late October. The days regularly break the three-digit mark during summer’s peak, in July. To get your dog some outdoor exercise during this period, try to walk them during dawn, dusk, and after the sun goes down if your schedule allows it. Don’t forget to bring some water for both of you.

Don’t forget the feet

Responsible pet owners should understand how the Arizona summer will affect the temperatures of the asphalt and sidewalks in addition to the air. A basic rule is that your dog’s feet should not be exposed to temperatures too hot for the back of your hand.

If you’re forced to take them outside when it’s hot, you might want to get them some boots to protect their feet. Here are some things to keep in mind when purchasing dog boots:

  • Make sure the boots are simple to put on and remove. Dogs don’t understand that wearing booties are for their protection, and nearly all of them will dislike the experience, especially in the beginning. So, ensure they are secure and don’t come off until your walk is done.
  • Look for quality. Disposable rubber booties may seem easy, but they offer little protection from the hot pavement. Padded suede is a good option.
  • If you’re hiking, go for sturdiness. A hard, thick sole will guard against the heat of the asphalt and challenging, rocky routes when trekking around many of the Arizona mountains.
  • Reflective. Additional visibility makes it easier for you and your dog to be seen if you are out late at night or early in the morning.
  • Breathable. As with your feet, breathable material is typically preferred when walking in hot weather.
  • What kinds of dogs or other pets aren’t allowed in Arizona?

You’re in the clear if you’re concerned about whether your breed will be legal in Arizona. Bans on breeds such as pit bulls and rottweilers were overturned in 2016. In addition, Senate Bill 1248 forbids Arizona’s cities and counties from enacting or enforcing breed-based dog regulations. But the allowance doesn’t extend to non-domestic canines, like wolves and coyotes.

And if you’re curious, Arizona has extensive bans on exotic or wild animals being kept as pets. Here’s a partial list:

  • Lions, tigers, jaguars, and other large cats
  • Poisonous snakes and many other types of wild snakes
  • Chimpanzees, spider monkeys, orangutans, macaques, gorillas, and other primates
  • Caimans, crocodiles, alligators, and other members of the Crocodilian family
  • Gila monsters
  • Many types of turtles, toads, and frogs typically found in the wild
  • Bears, weasels, skunks, raccoons, and foxes
  • Many species of fish and aquatic life
  • Many types of birds
  • Sloths, armadillos, and anteaters

Arizona Administrative Code R12-4-406 has full details on live wildlife restrictions.

A French Bulldog with its tongue out is wearing pink sunglasses and sitting in a field (Moving to Arizona with a dog)

Getting your dog acclimatized to Arizona weather will take some time (Photo credit: Firn)

Is Arizona a dog-friendly state?

Arizona’s fondness for outdoor activities makes it a great place to own a dog. Websites such as Bring Fido provides lists of dog parks, restaurants that allow dogs, and even dog-friendly hotels if you need a place to stay before your new home is ready.

Feel free to take your dog on road trips to places like Grand Canyon State Park, which allows dogs on-leash on trails above the rim, two of the campgrounds (Mather and Desert View), and the trailer park, as well as the developed areas. Check with the Grand Canyon’s website to ensure the weather is agreeable before your visit.

Consider an indoor dog park for your pal when the weather is too hot. Arizona has plenty of options for temperature-controlled fun. Mak Pack in Chandler is one of the biggest indoor dog parks in the state.

It is the first indoor park in Arizona with more than 10,000 square feet of indoor, staffed, air-conditioned, and watched play space for dogs and their owners. You are welcome to bring as many dogs as you like to this park. However, for your dogs to join the Mak Pack, they must pass a temperament test. There are both bigger and smaller zones for the benefit of park visitors and for everyone’s safety. Proof of immunizations and having an active account are additional prerequisites for entry into the park.

To summarize, here are the things you’ll want to keep in mind when moving to Arizona with a dog:

  • Prepare properly prior to departure by trying to keep your dog comfortable and calm, regardless of whether you’re driving or flying. Keeping to your dog’s routine whenever possible can help.
  • Register your dog once you move and ensure its vaccinations (especially rabies) are up to date. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
  • Heat is one of your dog’s biggest dangers in Arizona. Never leave your dog in the car; know the signs of heat stroke, such as excessive panting, vomiting, and bright red gums, and consider getting your dog some booties to protect its feet.
  • Breed-specific bans do not apply in Arizona, but plenty of exotic pets (including wolves and coyotes) aren’t allowed
  • Arizona is a great place to live with a dog and is a dog-friendly state. There are plenty of outdoor dog parks and indoor dog parks that allow your dog to play without being exposed to extreme heat.

If you’re moving to Arizona with a dog, you’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy with your pup. It will take some time for both of you to get acclimatized to the environment, but if you take the proper precautions, you and your pet can take advantage of the state’s outdoor beauty and its wealth of pet-centric indoor options. Grab the sunblock, booties, and water, and get going.

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