The heat of Florida summers can be brutal even for us humans, who can choose to stay in the AC and drink more water. But what about dogs?
As caretakers of our pets, we need to ensure we keep them safe from the dangers hot weather can present.
The heat index gives us a good idea of when Fido is safe to play outside. When the temperature and relative humidity stay under the 90s, it’s generally safe for dogs to be out for 15-20 minutes with shade and water. However, once the heat index creeps into the 90s, 10 minutes can be enough to reach the danger zone. When the heat index is over 100, use extreme caution for outdoor trips.
Tips to keep your dog safe during heat waves:
- Limit activity to cooler morning and evening hours
- Ensure access to fresh water at all times and keep dogs slim. Excess weight means excess heat, so keeping them in top shape for the summer is a good idea. Many brachycephalic breeds, such as Frenchies and Bulldogs, can be less heat tolerant, so exercise extreme caution when planning outdoor time.
- Older and younger dogs and dogs with thick coats are also at risk.
- Try doing more interactive activities inside, such as giving kongs, chews, games, and keeping up on training.
Signs of Heatstroke
The signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy or weakness, disorientation, diarrhea or vomiting, and dark gums and tongue. If you notice your dog becoming overheated, move them to a cool area, wet them with cool (not cold) water, and continually offer small amounts of water to drink. Immediately take your dog to the emergency vet if they display any heat stroke symptoms.
It’s still possible to enjoy summer with your dog by being proactive. Our dogs can’t communicate when they’re feeling too hot, so it’s our job to know the signs and keep them safe.