Updated: Apr 16
The Flagler area is blessed with many great amenities, but perhaps the best is our near-constant warm climate. Keep safety in mind when soaking up the sun. That's important for all members of the family, including pets. Cats and dogs are as susceptible to heat-related illnesses as their human companions. While it is a great idea to take your dog to enjoy, for example, one of Flagler's beautiful beaches, be sure that you provide your pup with sunscreen and a source of shade.
Recognize Heat Stroke
Pets can suffer from heat stroke, according to the American Red Cross. Certain breeds of dogs are highly susceptible, particularly those with short snouts, such as pugs and bulldogs. Excessive exercise in hot weather, lack of appropriate shelter outdoors, and leaving a dog in a hot car may cause heat stroke. It's important to get the pet out of direct heat right away and check for signs of shock, which include seizures, a body temperature of 104 F or higher, stupor, increased heart rate, or excessive panting. Placing water-soaked towels on the pet's feet, head, neck, and abdomen can bring down its temperature.
Be Cautious of Hot Surfaces
Humans wear shoes on their feet for protection, but pets do not have that luxury. Think about how hot your feet can feel when you walk barefoot across hot sand to the shoreline, or cross a deck to get to the pool. When the sun beats down on surfaces, those surface temperatures rise quickly. According to a 2010 study by Liberty Home and Pet Services, at peak afternoon sun and an ambient temperature of 95 F in Florida, the temperature of cement was measured at 125 F, red brick at 135 F, blacktop at 140 F, and grass at 102 F. If you will be taking your dog for a prolonged walk where the ground will be hot or rough, consider a preliminary balm for their paws.
Provide Extra Water
It's likely you will need to fill your pets' water bowls more frequently in warm weather than during other times of the year. Be sure to provide constant access to fresh water, even for young puppies who may be learning to house train. If travelling on an outing, consider bringing a travel bottle for your dog.
Avoid Cutting Fur Too Short
If a veterinarian suggests a hair cut may be beneficial for keeping a pet cool or comfortable, resist the urge to shave down to the skin. Having at least one inch of fur will protect the pet from sunburn. If you doubt your scissor skills, consider one of Flagler's independently-operated dog groomers, such as Dog's Choice Grooming by the beach.
Warm weather may bring out a high number of insects and wildlife. Use a flea and tick preventative product and medication to protect against heart-worm, which is transmitted through mosquitoes. Snakes, raccoons, and other animals may be roaming around, and a scuffle with your pet can result in injury. Be vigilant when spending time outdoors with your dog.
Pets need extra care during the warm weather to avoid damage and sickness from the sun, heat and more.