By: Marilee Namaka
Florida is definitely the “Sunshine State”, but this year’s sun and hot weather seems more punishing than ever! With such high humidity, and high temperatures the days seem longer and hotter. Always keep in mind that no matter how many times you hear your weatherman complain about the heat, your pets can’t tell you how hot they feel!
During the hottest part of the day, the best place for your pet is to be safe inside, in the air conditioning. We want to include our pets in our busy everyday routines, but sometimes they are best left at home. Even a quick stop at the store, “just for a few minutes” can turn into a catastrophe. A hot car can climb to 102 degrees within 10 minutes and to 120 degrees within 30 minutes. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke causing irreversible organ damage and can be fatal.
Does your dog fetch the ball no matter how many times you throw it? Many dogs don’t have self-preservation and will willingly walk, run and play with no regard to their own well being. They will even happily walk beside you on hot concrete or asphalt, burning the pads of their feet. Just like the parents of little children, it’s our job to see what the risks are for our pets and make sure they don’t “over-do it”.
There are some fun ways to safely keep your pet active, but try to keep activity during the early morning or late at night where temperatures are the coolest. Small children’s pools and sprinklers can be a ton of fun and great exercise for dogs who love water. Some dogs can be trained to use a treadmill inside in the air-conditioning. Be sure talk to your vet and check out some training basics for this before your start this doggie work-out regime.
It’s very important to keep your pets well hydrated by providing fresh water for them at all times. Even a walk around the block in this heat might call for a water stop. Bring along a collapsible bowl and a bottle of water to ensure your dog is getting the water he or she needs. If you have a fenced yard and your dog goes out to play, keep a bowl by your hose and make a point to check it a few times a day.
Always keep an eye out for symptoms of heat stroke such as vomiting, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, salivation, bloody diarrhea, seizures or coma. If your pet is showing symptoms of heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately for critical steps in treating your pet. Stay Cool!!!
Marilee Namaka is the General Manager of Bayside Pet Resort in Sarasota,Florida.