How to Care for Your Pets in the Florida Summer Heat

AUGUST 27, 2018 | WRITTEN BY WILLIE MAYS

Florida is well known for its sunny days, hot weather and tourist destinations with the average temperature above 90 degrees with a high humidity of 90%.  The hot weather might be good news for tourists, but it is very problematic for pets like dogs.

Shih Tzu in a stroller with toddlerKeeping cool in the Florida summer heat

In Florida, temperatures can increase very high and streets can become very hot between 12 noon and 2 pm.  So you should be very careful while walking your pets in the afternoon as dogs paw pads can easily burn in the high scorching heated streets.

In order to protect our body from that heat, we take a lot of measures. But when it comes to our pets, not all of us take measures to protect them. 

Just like any of us, our dogs are also prone to diseases that come with the summer.  Yes, heat isn’t the only issue that dogs have to deal with. There are also parasites that become active during the summer time and can cause serious harm to your pet.

But these aren’t the only issues that your pet has to deal with in Florida summer heat. 

Parasitic attacks

One of the major issues that every pet owner has to deal with is an attack of parasites. During heavy rainfalls, mosquitoes and fleas breed and can pose a real health risk to our pets.  A simple mosquito can give heartworms to dogs through just one bite if it is infected with the larvae.

Parasites like fleas, ticks, and tapeworm are known to attack your pet and cause serious damage to their bodies.  This usually happens when you take your dog out for a walk or if your house is infested with these parasites.

They are the reason for sickness in pets and also the reason for diseases like tick fever and Lyme disease.

So, it becomes important to eliminate them from the pet’s body and making sure that they don’t attack your pet.  In order to do that, you should consult a vet who can provide you with the best cure for these diseases. 

Summer Food Precautions

Summer is the time when we usually get together with our families and plan stuff like barbeques.

Now, this might sound all fun, but if we don’t take certain precautions then this can turn into a nightmare for our dog.

During barbeques, we cook delicious hot food.  But that hot food is not good for your dog.

Dogs should never consume this food as it can burn their tongue and stomach pretty badly. To make sure that doesn’t happen, it is important to be extra careful and be sure any food you cook and give to your dogs, have completely cooled down.

How to deal with the Florida summer heat

No matter how much we all love being outdoor in the summer sometimes we just can't stand the heat.  Going out without any protection from the sun can give us heat stroke pretty quickly.  So think about what it can do for our beloved pets.

It’s not the temperature that makes it worse, but the humidity.  The heat can make them sick and induce stress in them.  Also, too much exposure to heat can cause their skin to become dry and itchy and in worst case scenarios, your pet can collapse.

But there are some precautions that you can take in order to deal with the heat and avoid any mishaps.

So, if you are planning to take your dog out, then make sure that you check the weather first.  If it’s too hot outside, then see if you can wait till the temperature lowers down or just postpone your plan for some other day when it’s a little less hot outside.

Also, try avoiding any car journeys.  During the summertime, cars can become exceptionally hot and become a hostile environment for your pets.  This can lead to heatstroke and dehydration, which can give rise to many complications, especially in Brachycephalic dog breeds

In order to avoid any potential harms and to keep your pet cool you need to follow the tips given below:

  • Make sure that you give plenty of water to your pet. Heat can make them dehydrated, so giving them cold water can help in beating the summer heat.

  • When going out, make sure that you keep your pet in the shade all the time since direct sunlight for too long can result in cancer or skin infection.

  • Look for any signs of trouble. They can be anything from heavy breathing to trouble eating.

  • Pets in their senior years are more prone to heat-related issues. So make sure that you take extra care of them.

  • If your pet has long hair, then the best thing you can do is trim that hair. Trimming your pet’s hair can help it in cooling off.

  • When at home, always keep your pet an area where there is air conditioning or at least there’s a fan so that your pet can cool itself off.

  • If you indulge your pet in regular exercise then doing it early morning is the best option to avoid a rise in your pet’s body temperature.

  • Don’t leave your dog out the whole day. You might think that it is good for them to get fresh air, but they can soon get dehydrated in the Florida heat, which can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and even death.

  • Don’t leave your dog in a car without air condition on as it can get very hot.   Leaving a dog in a car for even a short period of time in the Florida summer heat, even with the windows down may cause him to overheat and become very ill or worse.

  • Before walking your dogs, check that the asphalt is not too hot by touching it with your hand.  If after a few seconds you can't hold your hand there any longer due to the heat, it is too hot for your dog's paws to be on.

If you think your pet is suffering from a heat stroke, then there are some things you can do in order to provide treatment.

First, you have to check the temperature of your dog.

If your dog’s appears to be suffering from heat distress, then it is time to take measures.  You can do it by spraying cool water on your dog.  This can help in cooling down the temperature. 

But still, if the temperature doesn’t lower down, then consult a vet who can provide you and your pet with professional help.

Final thoughts on summer heat and pets

You should take adequate steps to protect your dogs from this Florida heat as overheated dogs can face problems like heat stroke, heat exhaustion and even death due to cardiac arrhythmias.

So, to have a great summer experience and avoid any dangerous situations, it is best to be safe then sorry and take the necessary precautions in the heat and humidity in keeping your pet healthy. 

AUTHOR BIO:  Willie Mays is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger.  Her aim is to help other pet owners by sharing her experiences and from that perspective she recently wrote about apoquel alternative in her blog.

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