Too Hot For Dogs: How the Florida Summer Heat Affects Dogs

August 26, 2020 in Dog

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.

Florida Hot Weather Tips for Your Dogs

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 heatstroke 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.

Is it illegal to leave your dog outside in Florida?

As of 2020, there are no laws making it illegal to leave your dog outside in the state, but owners should be aware of what temperature is too hot for dogs. The average body temperature for a dog is around 100 to 103 degrees, so leaving them outside on a hot, steamy day can lead to a rise in body temperatures.

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!

What are the laws around leaving dogs in cars in Florida?

Florida is one of several states that has enacted a good Samaritan law that allows passerby to break a car's windows into to rescue a pet that is in danger. Those who act within reason in rescuing pets from potentially dangerous situations are immune from civil prosecution.

What kinds of dogs are prone to heatstroke?

All dogs are at risk, especially given Florida's warm weather. But dogs who are old, not used to exercise, overweight and have heart or respiratory issues are in more danger. In addition, certain types of dogs, like boxers, shih tzus and other short-muzzled breeds, will have more difficulty breathing in hot weather.

What should you do if a dog is too hot?

Quickly move your dog into the shade or an air-conditioned room. Give them some cool water to drink or you can have them lick ice cubes. Apply cold towels to their head and neck area. You can also run water over them, but make sure it is cool and not cold to prevent shocking their system. Follow up with a call to your local veterinarian for more information. They may require you to bring your dog into the office.

During the summer, an abundance of caution is necessary to keep your dogs healthy and happy. If you are wondering what temperature is too hot for a dog outside, simply consider how you may feel on a warm, sticky North Florida day. Humans have the capacity to sweat; dogs do not. Therefore, keep your dogs cool and safe by taking early morning walks, giving them plenty of water, never leaving them inside of cars, and considering activities like swimming for dogs as a fun and cooling exercise option. Additionally, learn how to keep a dog cool in the summer with methods like using cooling mats or vests, providing ample shade, and avoiding midday activities when the sun is at its peak. That way, you can both beat the heat!