Written on July 20, 2013 at 10:59 pm
It may have been rainy around Boca Raton lately, but don’t let the cloudy skies fool you: Whether outside your home or office, an area storefront or a restaurant, a dog’s time spent in a closed car or fenced yard or on a long walk can spell disaster fairly quickly. Thousands of dogs suffer or die each year from heat exposure. How can you keep yours from being the next statistic?
A recent American Kennel Club story revealed the warning signs and some tips to keeping pets safe during hot summer days. It’s easy to include these “family members” in our pursuit of outdoor fun. But sometimes, better judgment is in order to ensure their safety.
As the AKC wrote, “When the sun comes out, we all want to make the most of it and our pets are always eager to join in the fun. Yet just like us, dogs can suffer in the heat. When going for a long walk in the sunshine, it is important to remember that no matter how much they may run around, dogs are not inexhaustible.”
Among the tips: Walks to be early or late in the day – not during the hottest time, which in South Florida is from 10am to 4pm during the summer. Stop regularly for shade and water (bring water along if going for a longer walk; pour it on their head, neck, pads or stomach if they’re panting heavily). If a lake or canal is along the way, consider a quick swim (keep an eye out for alligators and snakes, though).
Think twice before taking the dog on errands or car rides. If the pet cannot come in during store visits or other stops, or if a shady spot cannot be ensured, maybe it’s best to forego an enjoyable ride and better ensure your pet’s safety.
If grilling, morsels off the grill are OK; just let them cook a bit before feeding to the pet.
Also from the AKC: Watch for signs of heat stroke: excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, sticky or dry tongue and gums, staggering, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, and rapid heartbeat.
If your dog is panting a half hour or so after a long walk or extended exposure to the sun, call your vet. Heat exposure and stroke must be addressed as quickly as possible.
Enjoy summer – or any South Florida season – with your dog.