Most puppy owners want to keep their pets as comfortable as possible throughout the year. For those who live in Florida, this means ensuring your puppy isn’t overheating during the hot and humid months of the year.
Your puppy can’t speak out if it’s getting too hot. Instead, you have to take proactive steps to reduce the chance of a heat-related condition. Fortunately, there are many options that can help keep your puppy cooler in the hot weather. Many of these aren’t expensive and can be fun for the rest of the family. Consider these tips to help your pup enjoy living with you in Florida.
Help Your Puppy Handle Heat
Obesity can contribute to overheating in puppies, which is why it’s critical that Florida puppy owners take the time to ensure they’re following directions on the foods they feed their puppy. Overfeeding can lead to the puppy becoming overweight.
Puppies should also have ample exercise to help improve their cardiovascular system, which is directly tied to their ability to pant to cool down. Taking walks with your puppy can help. Look for walking paths at local parks that have ample shade. This helps your puppy remain cooler while still allowing it to get time outdoors and exercise. It’s a great chance for you to do the same while enjoying the puppy!
Take the Puppy Out at Appropriate Times
You should avoid taking your puppy out in the heat of the day. This is typically 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. but might be a bit later in the middle of summer. It’s a better idea to take the puppy for walks or out for exercise in the early morning or late evening hours. If you have trouble handling the heat, the puppy likely will too.
Of course, puppies will likely have to go out to potty during the day. Keep these times outside short, and be sure they have shade and water readily available to help keep their temperature under control. You might even consider offering cold water in a bowl that has an ice cube in it.
Never Leave the Puppy in a Vehicle
Vehicles heat up quickly. You can’t leave your puppy in a car when the temperatures are high in Florida. Some people think they can leave the window down a crack for ventilation, but that isn’t enough. It’s best to leave your puppy at home in the air conditioning if you can’t bring it inside with you when you’re running errands.
Because the temperatures in a closed vehicle increase rapidly, there’s a great chance the puppy will succumb to heat-related issues before you even realize there’s a problem. While you might think you only need to be careful on hot days, it’s advisable to keep puppies out of parked cars even in warm weather just because of how much the vehicle can heat up in the sun.
Check Surface Temperatures
Temperatures on the ground are considerably higher than the temperature in the air. This is especially true if you’re on black asphalt. The pads of a puppy’s feet are very sensitive to heat, so there’s a chance they can get burned on the scalding pavement.
A good test for the pavement is to place your hand on it. If you can’t leave it comfortably, your puppy shouldn’t walk on the pavement. There isn’t sufficient time for the pads of its paws to cool down between steps, so your puppy’s paws become more painful with each step if the pads are scalded or burned.
Puppy owners can head out to dirt or grass trails to walk their puppy. This can help keep puppies cool because the sun and heat won’t reflect off the surface. If you aren’t sure whether there’s shade on the pathways, consider packing a backpack with an expandable umbrella. And don’t forget to pack water and a bowl for the puppy!
Know the Signs of a Heat-Related Problem
Excessive panting is one of the primary signs that a puppy is struggling with the heat. This may seem almost frantic. The puppy will likely slow down considerably to try to cool off some. You may also notice that the puppy’s nose is dry and its gums are white. Drooling is another sign of a heat issue.
Develop a Plan to Cool Off
If you notice signs that your puppy is struggling with the heat, it’s time to start your cooling-off plan. Overheated pups need to get to a cooler place quickly. One idea that you might use at home is adding a sprinkler or kiddie pool to the yard. Florida puppies love to play in cool water, and it’s a perfect break from the summer heat. If you have a pool at home, introduce your puppy to the water there so it’s comfortable with the pool.
There are other ways to help an overheating puppy. Move the puppy to a cooler area, ideally in air conditioning. If you’re outside and can’t get inside, find a shady area. Always have plenty of water on hand to offer the puppy.
Spritzing the puppy may also help; however, don’t try to cool the puppy down using ice or ice water because the sudden frigid temperatures can shock the body and won’t cool the pup internally.
Ultimately, pet owners are a puppy’s best defense against overheating. Preventing them from having heat-related issues is beneficial to their health. If something happens and the puppy does get too hot, be sure to seek out care from a veterinarian. This enables you to learn if there are any long-term adverse impacts you need to address.