This won’t be news to any Floridian: our summer weather is downright brutal. It’s hot, humid, sunny, and oppressive. While we get to enjoy a mild winter climate, we pay for it in spades when summertime rolls around. From May to October, karma delivers a ruthless punch for all of those pictures you sent your family up north in January. Read on to see what can you do to make sure your pet is safe during the summer’s hottest months.
Stay Indoors and Hydrate
Your furry family members should be kept in the air conditioning in the middle of the day during the summer months. Especially with short-nosed (think French Bulldog) or double-coated breeds (such as a Siberian Husky), it’s critical that pets are housed indoors and only allowed outside for short periods of time in the summer months. Farm dogs that are kept outdoors should have easy access to shade at all times of the day. Be sure your furry friends have plenty of clean, drinkable water.
Cut that Hair!
Like people, pets can get summer cuts to take some of the bulk off and help keep them cooler over the hotter months. Bonus, this often means less upkeep for owners! Our knowledgeable groomers can help you choose a summer cut for your pet that will be stylish and practical.
Protect the Feet
The pads of dog paws are quite sensitive to temperatures. If you would have trouble walking barefoot on the sidewalk or asphalt, so do they, even if they don’t show signs of distress. Serious burns can occur on the bottom of animals’ paws when walking on sun-soaked surfaces. Protect their feet by walking in the morning and evening hours, or, if you must walk in the middle of the day, pick up a pair of dog shoes, socks, or boots to protect those pads. Yes, they’re a thing!
Beware of Hot Hose Water
If a hose has been sitting in the sun, particularly a dark hose in the hot Florida sun, the water inside can get hot enough to burn/scald. When you turn a hose on in the summer time, let it run for a several seconds first and test it to make sure it is a safe temperature before using.
Be Car Safe
And finally, NEVER leave a dog in a car for any reason, especially in the summer. Even with the windows cracked, a car heats up incredibly fast. Like people, pets left in a hot car are at risk for heat stroke, or worse. It is legal in Florida to break into locked vehicles to rescue pets or vulnerable people believed to be in imminent danger of suffocation or other harm. Leave your pet at home if you can’t bring them inside with you everywhere you go.
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. When you’re outside with your pup, watch for signs of impending heat stroke such as excessive panting, thirst, salivation, glazed eyes, dry or pale/grayish gums, rapid pulse, weakness, vomiting, and collapse.
If you notice any of these, take immediate action and move your dog into the shade or indoors. Apply cool water, but don’t cover with a wet towel or clothing; let the air circulate. Encourage your dog to stand or slowly walk around while they’re cooling down. Give small amounts of room temperature (not cold!) water or chicken/beef broth (gulping is a bad idea.) Take your dog to the vet right away to check for underlying damage to his organs that may not be apparent.