As the Florida weather brings heat and humidity to Tampa Bay, it’s important that all of you Dog Moms, Dog Dads and Cat Parents learn how to keep your best furry friend safe. On those 90° days, it’s important to remember that your pet is likely ten times warmer than you are with their fur or hair coats. If you have a Pomeranian, Husky, Bernese Mountain Dog or Shiba Inu then they were born with double-layered fur. These two layers make it a sauna under all that fur. So, take these precautions into consideration for a happy and healthy Florida life with your pet!
Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Keep your pet hydrated by filling their water bowl multiple times a day with fresh, clean and cool water. Add ice cubes and if your dog is anything like mine you’ll find them making it a game and bobbing for ice cubes in their bowl!
Get Your Pet Wet
I wouldn’t suggest giving your cat a bath or throwing your dog who doesn’t like water in the pool BUT for those of you who own pets that enjoy taking a swim, this is a great way to keep them cool in the blistering Florida heat. For those of you who live in Tampa Bay check out Fort De Soto Dog Beach, Davis Island Dog Beach or the dog park at Julian B Lane Park.
Don’t Let Them in the Dog House
If your dog is lucky enough to have a yard they call home and you built or bought them a dog house, keep it in the garage during the hot and humid Florida temps. It might seem like a good spot for your dog because it’s shady, but think about it as a parked car; It’s a small space where air can get trapped and heat up! So don’t let your dog overheat and encourage them to lay in the open-air.
Early Morning/ Late-Afternoon Walks
It’s likely the mornings and late afternoons are a bit cooler than mid-day so be sure to take your furry friend out before the midday heat strikes. This keeps them from overheating in the hot sun!
Don’t Be a Dummy, Keep Your Pet Out of a Parked Car
If you think for a second it’s an option to leave your dog or cat in a parked car, think again! And don’t be surprised if you do leave your pet in the car and you come back to a smashed window (which is legal in the state of Florida!). So like I said, don’t be a dummy and keep your furry friend as safe as you would a friend's child!
Know the Signs of Heat Stroke & Remain Calm if You Need to Help!
For any and all pet parents, it is important to know the signs of your pet going into a heat stroke. Dogs have five telltale signs that they’re going into heatstroke: heavy panting, excessive drooling, frequent breaks from activity in the form of laying down, fast or irregular heartbeats and distress. Distress can come in many forms like vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, lack of appetite and seizures. Cats have similar signs of heatstroke but you can add restlessness, a bright red tongue, discolored gums and breathing distress to their list of indicators. If your pet is showing signs of heatstroke it is important to stay calm as possible because pets are emotionally responsive to stress. Call the Vet immediately if any of these signs are prevalent. A hint for cats is to wrap them with a wet towel instead of running cool water on them, as most of them hate getting wet!
Limit Their Exercise
It’s easy for an eager pet who loves playing fetch to overheat, so be sure you limit their exercise. As I said before, walk them during the early morning or late afternoon to keep them cool while they are exercising, and always watch out for signs of heatstroke.
Check the Pavement
When you do need to walk your pet midday, be sure to check the pavement for how hot it is. If it feels hot to your hands, it will feel hot on the pads of their paws. If they spend too much time on the pavement, their pads can burn off, so take preventative measures with these hot Amazon products.
Keep Your Yard Shady
These products are great for both you and your pet! Purchase a lightweight gazebo so your pet can sit outside in the fresh air and remain cool in the shade (take it with you on a camping trip too!). If you keep your pets outdoors during the workday, this is a great way to ensure that they’re safe while you're gone. Check out these affordable options from Amazon.
Make Cool Treats
Many people compare having a pet to having a kid, but who knew that included making homemade treats for your furry friends? Well, luckily we have some great recipes that will help keep your pets cool in the Florida heat.
Recipes for Dogs-
Recipes for Cats-
Freeze their cat food and serve it to them frozen, it will help to keep them cool and hydrated.
Give any of your pets some ice to suck or chew on!
Groom Your Pet, Keep Their Fur Short!
If your pet has long fur or hair, be sure to cut it short in Florida's hottest months. Not only does cleaner fur keep them cool but it gets more air moving through it because it’s less dense when you’re brushing it once or twice a week! And get creative with your pet's new do… Check out these fun haircuts other owners have given their pets to keep them cool!
Cooling Mats & Ice Packs by Their Beds
When pets get hot, it’s important to keep them hydrated but sometimes they need you to go the extra mile to keep them cool. I have two Pomeranians and with the double-layered fur, it’s important to have ice packs that I can lay in or by their beds to keep them cool.
Air- Conditioning (Or At Least Circulation)
Since this is Florida, almost every house has A/C, but be sure to leave your animals in the air conditioning when you aren’t with them so you have a clean conscious about your pet's health. If you leave them outside, be sure to leave fans in accessible areas so they can have air circulation at all times.