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Protecting Your Dog In The South Florida Heat

Protecting Your Dog In The South Florida Heat

The summer heat has arrived. With temperatures in the 90 and the heat index in the 100s, as uncomfortable as it is for us; imagine what it is like for our pets with all that extra fur.

It’s important to pay attention to your pets when they are outside for any warning signs of the change in body language or behavior that may signal they are experiencing overheating. To help you we have written the following to help protect your dog in the South Florida heat.

#1 Rule, Never Leave Your Pet In Your 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 to 102 degrees within10 minutes. That’s almost a 20 degrees increase in a concise amount of time.

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

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

Find out if your state has a law against leaving pets in cars.

Limit Outdoor Exercise

  • When the sun is beaming down, take extra precautions to take your pet outside to exercise. For example, consider walking your dog in the early morning or evening hours, when the sun is not as intense or has disappeared for the day.
  • Be cautious if your pet is white, as they are more susceptible to skin cancer. In addition, consider putting pet-safe sunscreen on their ears and nose.
  • Before you head out for a walk with your pup, 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 your hand, 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 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, provide them with ample shelter that will protect them from all elements. A larger space that is open and airy 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, and 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 significantly older, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, and have a heart or respiratory problem.

If your pet is Brachycephalic, meaning “shortened head,” such as Pugs, Boxers, Shih Tzu, and Bulldogs… these breeds can have a difficult time breathing and can suffer from overheating very fast. So 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 the fresh air? Allow us to help you eliminate your worry.

Learn more about how we can help you with your pet care needs, or if you have any questions about pets and overheating, contact us anytime.

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