Dog Days of Summer

Summer has arrived with a vengeance, and our furry friends feel the heat much more than we do! Generally, if it is too hot for you outside, it is way too hot for your dog. Instead of sweating, dogs rely on panting to lower their body temperature. This is much less efficient and in high humidity, it can be totally ineffective. “Smush faced dogs” like pugs or Pekingese, elderly dogs, and young pups are especially at risk. Because dogs are not equipped to handle our Florida summer temperatures, pet owners need to be aware of the danger and help their pups beat the heat! Here are a few tips:

  • Never leave your dog in the car. Not even for a few minutes. With a window cracked, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102F on an 85-degree day.
  • Watch when you exercise. Take walks in the cooler parts of the day, and be sure to bring water with you.
  • Touch the pavement. We often forget that dogs are barefoot! If the pavement is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. Keep on the grass instead of walking on the hot asphalt or cement.
  • Offer lots of water and shade. Don’t leave your dog outside for long periods of time. When he is outside, make sure he has lots of fresh, cool water. You can even add ice cubes! Trees are a better shade option than dog houses. Dog houses will actually trap heat, while trees allow for natural ventilation.
  • Make cool treats. Keep him cool from the inside out! Buy special doggie ice cream. Our friends at That Dog Ice Cream provide a local source.  You can also search the web for icy dog-friendly recipes. You can use ice trays to freeze treats and keep them readily available!
  • Beware of humidity. The higher the humidity, the harder it is for your dog to cope, and heatstroke becomes a bigger risk. On those high-humidity days, keep your furry friend inside and limit exercise.
  • Groom your dog. Keeping mats and tangles to a minimum will help your pet feel cooler. But don’t shave them before talking to your vet or groomer! When properly maintained, that long coat can provide insulation from the heat.
  • Watch for signs of overheating. Heavy panting, heavy drooling, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, dark red tongue or gums, dizziness, or weakness. These symptoms can signal heatstroke, so get your dog inside and contact your vet if you have concerns. Wrap your dog in cold wet towels, especially the underarm/belly/groin area. A fan can also be helpful.

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