The Jacksonville Humane Society Offers Five Tips to Protect Pets from Summer Heat

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (June 18, 2010) – The Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) is urging people to keep their pets safe as temperatures rise. The animal adoption and education center is presenting five tips to protect pets from the summer heat and sun.

“Animals can easily overheat during the hot summer months,” said Dr. Jennifer Broadhurst, director of veterinary services at JHS. “The heat can cause serious problems in dogs and cats that can lead to organ damage or even death.”

Broadhurst offers the following tips for pet owners:

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

The inside of a car can heat up to 120 degrees in just a few minutes. Dogs and cats left in cars can quickly become overheated. Even if you are running a quick errand, your pet can still suffer a heat stroke if left in the car. Leave your pet at home where they can stay cool. If you have to transport your pet for some reason, never leave the animal alone in the car.

Exercise Pets in the Early Morning or Evening Hours

Although it is still important for your pet to get plenty of exercise in the summer, remember that the heat can cause hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and even heat stroke in animals. Signs of hyperthermia include heavy panting, drooling, unsteadiness and vomiting. To prevent heat stroke, limit exercise to the early morning and evening hours.

Keep Pets Off Hot Asphalt and Sand

Asphalt and sand can get very hot very quickly. Not only can the hot asphalt or sand burn your pet’s paws, it can also lead to hyperthermia. One of the ways pets release heat is by sweating through their paw pads, but hot asphalt can limit a pet’s ability to cool itself by sweating. Walk dogs on the grass and keep walk times to a minimum during the summer. If you take your pet to the beach or pool, make sure to bring an umbrella to provide your pet with some shade.

Protect Your Pet’s Skin with Sunscreen

Remember that pets can get sunburned, so put sunscreen on your animal’s nose and ear tips. This is especially important in pets that have white fur and pink skin. Try to limit your pet’s exposure to sunlight to no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Ensure Your Pet Has Ample Hydration

Pets can get dehydrated very quickly, so it is important to make sure they always have plenty of clean, fresh water, especially in the hot summer months. If you take them to the beach, make sure your pet does not drink saltwater because it can make them very sick.

“Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with the family pet,” said Broadhurst. “Owners just need to remember to keep their pets cool so they can enjoy all the fun summer has to offer.”

About the Jacksonville Humane Society

The Jacksonville Humane Society, founded in 1885, serves more than 4,000 animals each year. JHS is a no-kill, non-profit center for animal welfare and education that serves as a resource for all companion-animal related issues. The organization is dedicated to finding loving, permanent homes for animals by matching people with the pet that is right for them.

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Media contact:

Michelle Gilliam
Jacksonville Humane Society
904-725-8766 x243 (office)
904-859-8606 (cell)