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Ask An South Florida Expert: How To Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

Sara Beg, an ER Veterinarian at Knowles Animal Clinic in Kendall, Florida has offered several tips for keeping your pet cool on those hot summer days in south Florida. Dr. Beg, who believes in integrating western and alternative therapies when caring for pets, is very adamant about providing a safe way for pets to stay cool during the summer.
Mr. Moe's Restaurant & Bar

Knowles Animal Clinic, Snapper Creek Location
9933 Sunset Drive
Kendall, FL 33173
(305) 279-2323

Dr. Sara Beg graduated from St. George's University with a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine. Dr. Beg is also certified in veterinary acupuncture, canine and feline rehabilitation and is working towards her certification in pain management and Chinese herbal medicine.

Trim Your Pets Fur

Dr. Beg said that dogs and cats use their fur to help them cool off. The pets fur helps to slow down heat absorption in the pets body. Cutting a pets fur too short can cause your pet to get overheated as well as cause the pet to get sunburned. Dr. Beg suggests that instead of shaving all of the pet's fur off, the owner should simply brush the loose undercoat hair off of the pets body. In this way, the pet will be cooler but will not get sunburned.

Related: Gifts For Pets And Pet Owners In South Florida

Learn How Your Pets Breed Affects Their Tolerance To Heat

According to Dr. Beg, certain breeds of pets are less adaptable to the hot summers of south Florida. Dogs such as chow chows, malamutes, and huskies have thicker coats so they get overheated faster.  Pugs, bulldogs, shih tzus, Boston terriers, as well as Himalayan and Persian cats, are less efficient in panting so they have more difficulty cooling themselves off. Obese pets, elderly pets, and young pets are much more sensitive to the heat.

Exercise And Playtime In The Summer Heat

Dr. Beg suggests that exercising your pets and outdoor playtime should be done in the early morning hours or late in the evening. If you must walk your pet, make the walk shorter than usual. She also suggests taking frequent breaks during the walk, as well as bringing along a cool bottle of water and a bowl so the dog can have a drink of cool water. As for cats, keep them inside as much as possible. If they must go outside, provide them with a cardboard box or a bed in a shaded area. Provide more than one water source for your cat.

Keeping Pets Cool Inside the Home

If at all possible, Dr. Beg said to leave the air conditioning running, even if you leave the home. Opening windows throughout the home can also provide cross circulation that can help cool off pets. Fans in various parts of home can help circulate the air, thereby providing additional cooling options for your pets. Cats like to relax in empty bathtubs, sinks, and showers while dogs prefer cool floors. Make sure any dangerous areas, like toilets bowls, are closed off so the pets cannot drink out of them.

Pets In Cars

Never leave your pet inside your car. Dr. Berg stresses that, even with the windows down, an outside temperature of 80 degrees will cause the inside of a car to heat to 100 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. If you must take your pet with you, keep the air conditioning on. She encourages pet owners to leave their pet at home if at all possible during the hot summer months.

Related: Best Pet-Friendly Getaways Near South Florida

Katherine Bostick is a freelance writer covering all things Tampa Bay. Her work can be found on


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