Ways to protect your furry friends this summer

With temperatures soaring to the mid-90s so far this summer, make sure to keep your pets in mind. From overheating in the scorching sun to dehydration, the summer months can be harmful to your pets if you aren't aware and don't prepare.

Here are a few do's and don'ts from Hillsborough County's Animal Control Division of Code Enforcement to help keep you and your fuzzy companions safe throughout the summer.

Do's

  • Keep water on hand wherever your pet is to avoid dehydration during humid days. You can also give them ice cubes or pet-friendly frozen treats to help keep them cool.

  • Walk your pets in the early morning or late evening to avoid the full force of the sun and midday heat, which can lead to your pet overheating

  • Know the symptoms of heat stroke - excessive panting and drooling, weakness, disorientation, and/or seizure

  • Update your contact information on your pet's collar and microchip before you go on vacation. This will allow for a quicker reunion if your pet gets out while you're gone.

  • Groom your dogs and cats to keep their coats light to allow for air circulation that will help regulate their body temperature. However, shaving a double-coated dog such as golden retrievers or border collies is not recommended and can be harmful.

  • Use pet-safe sunscreen on hairless and short-haired pets and pets with white coats. This protects their skin from sunburn.

  • Monitor your pets around pools and large bodies of water so they don't accidentally fall in and possibly drown. If you take your pets on a boat, have a pet life vest for each pet to wear.

  • Have a plan for your pets in case of disaster, like a hurricane. Learn more about pet disaster planning.

  • Know where dog-friendly places are located in your neighborhood, like Hillsborough County Dog Parks

Don'ts

  • Never leave your pet in a car unattended. Dogs and cats don't sweat like humans, so they can easily overheat and die if left in the car, especially in the hot summer months.

  • Don't walk your pet on hot pavement as it can burn their paws

  • Don't shave a double-coated dog. Shaving them does not help keep them cool; it does the opposite. If your dog has a double coat or if you're not sure what type of coat your dog has, consult your veterinarian.

  • Don't forget your flea, tick, and heartworm prevention medication. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes thrive in hot temperatures, and dogs and cats can get sick from their bites.

  • Never let your pets drink any liquids from the ground. Leaked substances from cars, and other sources, like antifreeze, can be extremely toxic.

If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke:

  • Cool them by submerging them in water or spraying them with a hose. It is very important to cool the animal's head but be sure to keep water out of their airways. Put the animal in an air-conditioned vehicle, building, or, at minimum, in the shade.

  • Call your veterinarian immediately

  • Notify authorities. To report an animal in danger or heat distress, immediately contact a law enforcement officer and call Code Enforcement's Animal Control Division at (813) 744-5660.

Image Caption: Hot Summer Dog Tips_NR
Posted: 2/6/2024, 7:05:00 PM