Living in Florida, the summer months can get uncomfortably hot for humans and pets alike. The humidity rises with the temperatures and the heat can get so intense, simply walking to your car can build up a sweat. It is important to keep your pets cool when the temperature soars. Follow these tips to keep your family and pets healthy and comfortable during our steamy summers.
Basic Summer Safety
Never leave your pets in a parked car, not even for a minute with the air conditioner on. Temperatures inside a vehicle can increase to dangerous levels quickly, especially on those warmer days. According to the Humane Society, on an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees in less than 10 minutes. After about 30 minutes, it will be around 120 degrees inside your vehicle. Your pets can suffer irreversible organ damage, or in some cases even death.
Also, you should pay close attention to the humidity outside. Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association states that, “It is important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature, but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels very quickly.”
Another thing to keep in mind is to limit exercise on hot summer days. People that exercise with their pets should schedule their runs in the early morning or evening hours on hot days. Asphalt can get very hot and has been known to burn pet’s paws, so a nice grassy area would be best. Also don’t forget to bring water for you and your pet as dehydration can occur without notice.
Keep It Cool
Many people don’t realize that pets actually respond differently to heat than we do. For example, dogs sweat through their feet. Don’t rely on fans to cool off pets because they are not as effective as they are on us. Also ensure there is ample shade and water both inside and outside of your home. Tree shade is great for pets because it doesn’t obstruct airflow and provides excellent cover for your pets. Contrary to popular belief, dog houses actually make the heat worse for dogs. The dog house actually turns into a sauna during extreme temperatures.
As a pet owner, you need to be aware of the signs of heatstroke. These typical signs are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and sometimes unconsciousness. If your pet is showing any of these signs, quickly move them into a shade or air conditioned area and apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck, and chest.
Summertime is great for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors, but don’t forget about our furry friends. Just like us, pets need to feel comfortable in all types of conditions. By following these simple tips, you can keep your pets safe during the extreme Florida heat all summer long.