The extreme Southwest Florida summer heat is here. It is imperative that all pet owners provide proper care for their pets, as outdoor conditions are not appropriate for companion animals. Here are some warm weather safety tips.
If you witness an animal emergency, including animals left outside in extreme temperatures or in vehicles, please call 239-252-7387 or dial 911.
1. Walk your pets early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
2. Instead of a midday walk, give your pup interactive toys, frozen toys and bowls of frozen water or chicken broth, food puzzles and more! These enrichment items can keep them physically and mentally busy without having to take them out in the heat of the day.
3. Be careful with dogs on asphalt in the heat. Not only are their paws sensitive, but because their bodies are closer to the asphalt, they can overheat more easily. Check the temperature of the concrete by placing the back of your hand on it for several seconds. If the concrete is too hot for you, it will definitely be too hot for your dog.
4. Keep your cats inside to protect them from the heat. Cats do not disperse heat with panting as well as dogs do. If your cat likes to sunbathe in a window or on the patio, limit their time to prevent sunburns and other complications of sun exposure. For outdoor cats, make sure there is always water available that is out of direct sunlight. Refill it often.
5. Dogs can get sunburned, too. Be especially careful to protect hairless and light-coated dogs with pet-safe sunscreen.
6. Always be aware of the signs of heat stress. If your pet is panting excessively, drooling, struggling to walk, is lethargic or has bloody diarrhea or vomiting, know that these are potential signs of overheating. If you believe your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, contact your veterinarian right away – it could save your pet’s life.
7. Remember, if you must take your pet along for the ride, never leave them alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the temperature inside your car can quickly climb to 120 degrees.
8. If you are hot, your pet is too!
These are just a few ways to help keep your pet(s) safe during the summer months. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to care for your pet during warm weather, please contact our veterinary clinic at 239-643-1555.