It’s getting hot, Jacksonville! When you’re thinking about cooling down this summer, don’t forget your pets could use some relief, too. Read on for tips on how to keep your pets safe and cool during the hottest months of the year.
Limit exercise on extra-hot days
In Florida, many of us are undeterred by exercising when it’s hot out, but our furry friends can’t tell us with words when they’re feeling overworked. On extra-hot days, only exercise your pet in the mornings and evenings when temperatures are at their lowest. If you must exercise your dog during the hottest hours, keep them hydrated and walk them on grass rather than asphalt.
When exercising your pet outdoors, keep your pet’s unique features in mind. Pets with white ears can get sunburnt and are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets can have trouble breathing when temperatures are high.
Provide lots of shade and water
We can’t overstate this one – any time your pet is outside or in hot temperatures, make sure they have LOTS of cover from the sun and plenty of fresh, cold water! When you’re making shade for your pets, keep airflow in mind – tents and overhead cover is best. Also, remember that fans don’t cool pets the way they cool humans, so real air flow and air conditioning are important!
Cool your pets inside and out
Drinking cold water helps pets stay cool, but you can get creative with DIY pup-sicles for dogs, too! You can also help your pup beat the heat by using cooling body wraps and kiddy pools – fun and safety at the same time is a win-win for you and your dog!
Watch for signs of heatstroke
Pets can get heatstroke just like people. Signs of heatstroke in pets are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive panting/thirst/drooling, lethargy, vomiting, and/or a deep red or purple tongue. Senior pets and young pets are especially prone to heatstroke, as well as pets who are struggling with certain health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s risk for heatstroke.
Never leave your pet in a parked car.
Even with the AC running or a window open, temperatures in a parked car can reach dangerous heights. For example, on an 85-degree day, a parked car will reach more than 100 degrees within 10 minutes! Leave your pet at home or drop them off before running errands. If you see a pet alone in a car, use this guide to decide what to do.
P.S., Watch the humidity!
Floridians know that humidity can sometimes be worse than temperature. Pets pant when they’re feeling hot, and panting takes the moisture from their bodies very quickly. While humidity is moisture in hot air, this moisture will not help your pet stay cool.