Summer Safety Tips for Dog Owners

The dog days of summer are upon us, and the heat can be a real challenge for our canine companions. Read how you can help your dog beat the Florida heat.

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February 1, 2023
Health & Safety

Summer Safety Tips for Dog Owners

The dog days of summer are upon us, and the heat can be a real challenge for our canine companions. Read how you can help your dog beat the Florida heat.

Beat the Heat

The dog days of summer are upon us, which means the days are longer and the sun is stronger. While summertime presents plenty of upside, the sweltering heat can pose to be a real challenge for our canine companions.

We compiled a few tips to help you and your dog beat the Florida heat. In this post we’ll focus on everything from keeping your dog cool to reducing their exposure to the sun.

Shade and Shelter

Avoid baking in the summer sun with your best friend.

Never Leave Your Dog Alone in a Car

Exercise at Dawn or Dusk

Be Mindful Walking on Pavement

Water is Vital

Ensure Hydration

Make sure your dog is staying hydrated, has ample water that's accessible at all times, and let your dog cool off by swimming!

Let Your Dogs Swim

Understand the Signs

Generally, panting, wagging, and pulling their tail relieve pressure from the chest area. They also reduce the risk of overheating by drawing in more air. But if your dog’s body temperature is already high because of exertion or environmental stress, you may want to take matters into your own hands.

Consult your veterinarian if your pet suddenly becomes excessively hot-blooded or begins panting for the first time. He or she can perform the tests needed to diagnose heat stroke. When the condition is serious, call 911 or take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

If a hyperventilated dog continues to pant, it can become more dangerous because the tight coils in the dog’s lungs quickly expand and constrict. When the pressure in the chest increases, the resulting inability to inhale air causes breathlessness. An increasingly shallow breathing pattern can further contribute to overheating.

Hypoventilation, defined as an inability to breathe normally or to allow enough air to pass through the lungs, is a fairly common condition during hot weather. However, rapid breaths and short breaths may be a sign of underlying dehydration. In addition, if you notice or hear your dog panting or howling, it’s time to seek medical care.


Dogs can become dehydrated when more fluids leave the body than it takes in. They lose fluids through panting, urinating, and even from evaporation through their paws. If you see any of the following symptoms, the dog needs rehydration and replacement of electrolytes right away:

  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes

Just giving your dog a bowl of water may not be enough; electrolytes may need to be replaced, as well. Use a product like PedialyteR, electrolyte-enhanced water, or an electrolyte solution. Check with your veterinarian for dosage recommendations. You may also need to go to an emergency vet who can administer intravenous fluids.


Heatstroke can be the serious and often fatal result of a dog’s prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Heatstroke usually occurs when high ambient temperature overcomes the dog’s ability to dissipate heat. The degree of damage is determined by how high a temperature is reached and how long the animal is exposed. Below are the signs of heatstroke and the actions you should take if your dog is overcome.

Early Stages

  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Difficulty balancing

Advanced Stages

  • White or blue gums
  • Shock
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation

If your dog begins to exhibit signs of heatstroke, you should try immediately to cool him down. Cooling methods include getting him into the shade, spraying him with cool or tepid water, and fanning him. Severely affected dogs require fluids, medication, support, and oxygen.

Check your dog’s temperature regularly during this process. Once it’s stabilized at between 100-to-102 degrees, you can stop the cool-down process. If you can’t get the dog cooled down, and you begin to see signs of advanced heatstroke, take the dog to a veterinarian immediately.