Dog Heat Safety

dog heat safetyDog heat safety is important as most dogs aren’t designed for Florida summers! The hot season in Florida is no place to be if you’ve got an inbuilt fur coat, and an inefficient internal cooling system! Even humans – which are actually pretty good, as mammals go, at keeping ourselves cool – sometimes struggle with summer in Florida! Your dog is likely to find the season even more of a trial than you do! However, that’s not to say that you and your dog can’t get out and about and enjoy what Florida has to offer at this time of year! Simply that you should bear a few things in mind when doing so…

Dog heat safety – Your Dog Will Get Hotter Than You Do (And Can’t Cool Itself Down)

If you want to know what life is like for a dog in the heat of the Florida sun, head outside wearing three layers of clothes plus a waterproof coat, go for a run, and under no circumstances remove any layers of clothing during the process. Humans cool ourselves down by several means, but the crucial one is sweating. Our sparsely-furred skin – already naturally cooler than that of a dog due to the lack of a furry coat! – is liberally dotted with sweat glands. These moisten our flesh, which is then cooled as the sweat evaporates in the open air. Dogs, however, in addition to being covered in non-removable fur, cannot sweat except through their paws. Not being ‘designed’ for hot climates in the same way that we are, canine cooling systems are far less efficient. When they’re hot, dogs try to cool their bodies by panting, and by drinking lots of water. This doesn’t work brilliantly in very hot conditions, so, if you’re feeling the heat despite all of your human advantages, understand that your dog is probably feeling ten times hotter than you! Admittedly some dogs are better equipped for hot conditions than others (very fluffy breeds will suffer more than thin-haired breeds) but, in general, dogs are not hot-weather creatures.

Know The Signs Of Overheating

Being the loving, loyal companions that they are, most dogs will do their best to keep up with our activities even when they’re seriously feeling the heat. So it’s wise to know the warning signs of developing hypothermia (serious clinical overheating) before it gets that far. Apart from being very distressing for dog and owner, hypothermia can result in a lot of expensive veterinary treatment, and only the best insurance companies will cover you for it. More importantly, however, it’s a very nasty thing to happen to anyone, and nobody wants their dog to go through the trauma of overheating. Here are a few warning signs to look out for:

  • Excessive panting

  • Drooping head

  • Listlessness

  • Heavy drooling

  • Dry/pale gums

  • Confusion

  • Fainting

If you observe the latter three signs, it is probably best to seek veterinary attention as quickly as possible. Otherwise, however, you can take action to cool your dog down yourself.

Cooling An Overhot Dog

There are several things you can do to help bring your dog’s body temperature down and to make it more comfortable. These include:

  • Moving into the shade.

  • Give the dog a drink

  • Apply lukewarm (not too cold! Cold water can shock an overheated dog!) water to the dog’s inner thighs and stomach.


  • Submerge your dog in cold water, or spray them with a hose – this may seem like a quick fix, but it could cause the dog’s body to cool too rapidly, rather than coming down and adjusting naturally. Rapid cooling can have poor consequences.

  • Cover your dog in wet towels – the cooling effect of water is most effective when the water is allowed to evaporate from the body, which it cannot do if the body is covered in cloth.

Avoiding Overheating In The First Place

Of course, prevention is always better than the cure! If you want avoid ever having to cool down your poor, suffering canine companion, follow these simple rules:

  • Do not take your dog out at the hottest part of the day. Go for walks when it is cooler, and when the sun is less intense.

  • Take plenty of water with you on walks, or ensure that you’re walking where there is lots of doggy drinking water available.

  • Check that the tarmac is not too hot for canine paws. On hot days, hold the palm of your hand onto the surface you’re planning on walking your dog upon. If you can’t hold it there for five seconds without feeling uncomfortable, it will burn your dog’s paw pads. Walk on grass instead, if possible, or wait until the ground has cooled.

  • Give your dog a haircut, and strip out the insulating under layers of their coat if they’re a particularly fluffy breed.

  • No matter how cute the dog looks, DO NOT take them out wearing a coat or any other item of clothing other than a collar!

  • Avoid long, strenuous walks when it’s hot.

And NEVER, EVER leave your dog in a car – not even with the window open!


This article sent in by Sally France 


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