How the Florida summer heat affects dogs

The summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm Florida weather. But the heat and humidity in the state can lead to pets in distress.

Florida temperatures can cause serious problems for dogs, which is why owners need to be vigilant in order to keep their four-legged friends safe — and cool!

While you may understand that leaving a dog inside of a car is off-limits, there are less obvious heat-related issues that can affect dogs across the state. Experienced veterinarians in the Jacksonville area recommend keeping a close eye on your dogs in the summer to watch for signs of overheating.

How hot is too hot for dogs?

While there’s no official outside temperature to indicate it is too hot, dogs often exhibit signs of distress when their body temperatures reach an uncomfortable point. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, excessive thirst and a lack of coordination. Most dogs with enough shade and cool, fresh water will be alright at 80 degrees. But it’s important to keep watching your dog around or beyond that point for signs of overheating. Also, humidity can be a factor as well.

When is it too hot to walk dogs?

The average temperature in Nocatee hovers around 90 degrees in the summer months, making the heat of the day tough for both humans and pets. But asphalt can get as much as 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the surrounding temperature! You should avoid walking your dog in the middle of the day because the asphalt, which absorbs heat, can burn your dog’s paws. If you notice your dog limping or walking strangely, it may mean the dog’s paws are burning.

What should I do if I leave my dog outside for a bit?

If a dog needs to go outside in the warm weather, make sure it is for a short period of time. In addition, you should provide water, plenty of shade and the ability for the dog to get back inside. If you are leaving a dog inside during the day, make sure the air conditioning is on, as warm temperatures inside the house can also cause issues.

Can I leave my dog in the car for a quick errand?

Simply, the answer is no. Even with limited exposure, you should never leave a dog in the car. Temperature fluctuations can occur rapidly in an enclosed vehicle. In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees. That number goes up to 30 degrees in 20 minutes!