Summer tips for pet safety in the heat

June 11, 2011 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

As we get ready for summer to start, we wanted to provide you with some important information to protect your pets from the Florida heat. Pets, just like people, can suffer heatstroke at any time of day – even in the shade. In Florida, they are particularly vulnerable due to the extreme heat and humidity – even short haired varieties.

Tips for summer pet safety:

  • Be aware that the outside temperature can be a lot warmer than what is on your thermometer – on humid days (and we have a lot of them here!) the relative temperature is much higher
  • Dogs really don’t know when to stop playing – try and keep your dog’s activity to a minimum particularly on hot and humid days
  • Exercise your dog early in the morning and/or later in the evening when the temperature is cooler
  • If possible keep your dog indoors during the heat of the day in a well ventilated or air conditioned room
  • If your dog is outside during the day, make sure there is plenty of shady areas for him to lie in and he has access to cold water. Put a small kid-sized pool of water for him in a shady area so he can lie in that to keep cool, and/or periodically spray him with cool water.
  • Make sure anyone watching your pet is also aware of these safety precautions
Signs of heat stroke:
  • Excessive panting
  • Dark or bright red tongue and gums
  • Sticky or dry tongue and gums
  • Staggering
  • Stupor
  • Seizures
  • Bloody diarrhea or vomiting
  • Coma
  • Death
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, try the following first-aid procedures:
  • Cool him in cool (not icy) water, or by running a hose over his body. Cool the head and neck areas first.
  • Put him in an air conditioned space.
  • Do not attempt to force him to drink water.
  • Call your veterinarian or a nearby emergency vet office for more advice. It’s best to keep these numbers availably to all family members at all times. A magnet or note on the refrigerator is a good way to do this.

As with children, local and State statutes also forbid leaving animals inside vehicles — even with windows cracked or during evening hours. Violators risk both civil and criminal penalties. When the temperature outside is 85 degrees, the inside of a vehicle can reach 102 in just 10 minutes — 120 degrees in 30 minutes! Animals left in closed vehicles will develop heatstroke, and may suffer pain, injury or even death.

If you see a pet confined inside a vehicle should notify law enforcement or Hillsborough County Animal Services immediately. For more information, call (813) 744-5660 or log on


Entry filed under: Pet Information. Tags: , , , , , .

Kids for Paws contest a success! Spay/Neuter Voucher Program resumes July 1!

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