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Protecting Your Dog In The South Florida Heat!

It seems the summer heat has arrived in South Florida and it’s only April. It can be an uncomfortable time for us, imagine what it is like for our pets with all that extra fur. Here are some precautions that you can take in order to protect your dogs from overheating!

NEVER leave your pet in a parked car

Even if you leave a window down or have the air conditioner on, temperatures in a car can rise to dangerously high levels. For example, if it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can rise up to 102 degrees within10 minutes. That’s almost a 20 degrees increase in a very short amount of time.

Within 30 minutes, your pet could possibly suffer irreversible organ damage or die because the temperature will have increased to 120 degrees Additionally, if it feels cool outside, such as 72 degrees, the car can still rise up to 116 degrees within an hour.

Did you know that in the state of Florida, it is against the law to leave a pet unattended in a car?  By law, a bystander can legally break the car window to prevent the pet inside the car from becoming overheated.   Here’s more information regarding this Florida Law!

 Limit outdoor exercise

  • When the sun is beaming down, take extra precaution when you take your pet outside to exercise. Consider walking your dog in the early morning hours or evening hours, when the sun is not as strong or has disappeared for the day.
  • Be cautious if your pet is white as they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Consider putting pet-safe sunscreen on their ears and nose.
  • Before you head out for a walk with your pooch, be sure to place the back of your hand against the pavement and hold it there for 10 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.  On a cool day when the temperature is 77 degrees, the pavement can heat up to 125 degrees.  Imagine walking barefoot on that!  The air temperature is NOT an accurate reflection of ground temperature at all.
  • Choose other activities for exercising such as swimming or playing fetch inside. This will allow him the opportunity to release any pent up energy without the fear of overheating outside.
  • Lastly, always carry water for your dog while on your walk. Consider offering water often to keep him cool!  We LOVE the Gulpy and use it when walking our client’s dogs!
  • If your pets spend most of their time outdoors, be sure to provide them with ample shelter that will protect them from all elements. A larger space that is open and airy as to not hold in the heat and lots of water.  A fan could be added to the area to add cooler air.

Signs of Overheating in Dogs

Overheating in dogs can be deadly if you don’t know the signs and act fast.  Following are symptoms all pet owners should be aware of to prevent their dog from overheating:

  • Heavy Panting
  • Elevated Body Temperature (104 Degrees and Up)
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Weakness, Collapse
  • Glazed Eyes
  • Increased Pulse and Heartbeat
  • Vomiting and Bloody Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Bright Dark Red Tongue, Gums
  • Excessive Drooling

 

Five ways to treat an Overheated Dog

  1. Move your pet to a cooler area immediately, preferably near a fan, cool car, or inside where there is air conditioning.
  2. Take your pet’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. If the temperature reads 103 degrees or higher he is experiencing overheating.
  3. Put cool, wet towels on their neck, armpits, groin and wet their ear flaps and paw pads.
  4. Give your dog fresh, cool drinking water.
  5. Transport your pet to the veterinarian right away?

Animals are more at risk of overheating when they are very older, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise and/or have a heart or respiratory problem.

If your pet is Brachycephalic, meaning “shortened head”, such as Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s and Bulldogs… these breeds can have a difficult time breathing and can suffer from overheating very fast.  Avoid taking them outside midday when it’s the hottest!

Don’t have the time to get home during the day to let your dog out for a potty break?  Fearful it’s too hot for them to go outside midday to stretch their legs and enjoy some fresh air?  Allow us to help you eliminate your worry.

We offer Monday – Friday Dog Walks between 8 AM and 7 PM and base your dogs visit on their age, breed, and health.  We are here to help you.

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