Pet safety tips for Florida living

From stunning beaches to vast green fields and piney forests, Florida is a beautiful and exciting place to live — especially when you're sharing the adventure with a pet. Here are a few things to keep in mind for those who call the Sunshine State home.

Paws OFF the Palms

Within 15 minutes of ingestion, pets can start to show signs of the following symptoms:
• Drooling
• Vomiting
• Black tar-like diarrhea
• Weakness
• Tremors
• Seizures
• Liver failure

Pets who ingest any part of a sago palm need immediate, aggressive treatment by a veterinarian, even if they’re not exhibiting any symptoms.

Sago palm toxicity can cost over $7,000 to treat.

Healthy Hiking

When prepping your pack, remember your pooch’s needs:

Always keep them on a leash

Bring extra water and a bowl

Carry damp towels in a plastic bag to help cool them off.

No matter how fit your pet is, give them ample rest time in the shade to help avoid injury and heat exhaustion.

Rattlesnake Country

Prevent your pet from investigating bushes and rocky or grassy areas where snakes like to hide. If you come across one, give them plenty of space — most rattlesnakes will avoid you if they can help it. If bitten, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately.

Almost 90% of snake bites occur between late April and October.

Ask your veterinarian if a rattlesnake vaccine is right for your pet.

Toad-ally Toxic

Just licking or holding a bufo toad in their mouth can cause severe poisoning and even death of your pet. These toads are drawn to food and water dishes left outside — even drinking the water that a toad sat in can be fatal.

Of all claims related to Bufo Toads, 75% come from Florida. 

Beach Buddies

Spending the day at the beach? Bring plenty of fresh, clean water for your pet to drink, along with a collapsible bowl. And be sure to provide shade — your pet can overheat very easily and even sunburn. While most dogs can swim, not all dogs are meant for a life in the water. Flat-faced dog breeds, like French Bulldogs or Pugs, often struggle to swim because of their short snouts and broad chests.

Too Hot to Trot

To avoid blistering hot surfaces, walk your pet during the cooler morning or evening hours or stick to grass and other surfaces that stay cooler. Evaluate a sidewalk’s temperature by pressing your hand on the surface for 7 seconds.

If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them!

Severe Storms

Hurricanes are no joke, and Florida is typically hit with major storms throughout hurricane season, which runs from June through November. Whatever emergency preparedness plans you have for yourself and your family, in case of a hurricane, flood, or tornado, make sure you include your pet in those plans.

If it’s not safe for you to stay put, it’s not safe for your pets either - grab the pets and seek safer grounds!

Watch Out for Florida Wildlife

Always keep an eye on your pet, even in your own backyard. Avoid feeding your pet outside as this can attract animals that may be dangerous to your pet.
Raccoons | Alligators | Opossum |Black Bears
Mosquitoes | Fruit Bats | Foxes | Ball Python Snakes

An encounter with any of these dangerous animals warrants an immediate trip to the veterinarian.

Keep it Cool

To help prevent heatstroke, provide plenty of water and shade or keep them in a cool, air-conditioned room. Symptoms include panting, weakness, rapid pulse, glazed eyes, warm, dry skin, staggering, vomiting, and deep red or purple tongue.

What to do if they develop heatstroke:

1. Immediately call your veterinarian.
2. Move your pet to a cooler area
3. Avoid sudden cooling (like putting your pet in an ice bath).
4. Apply rubbing alcohol to their paw pads, place a cool damp towel on their back, and allow them to drink small amounts of water.

Hot Outside? Leave Your Pet at Home.

Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even with a window cracked, and especially not in the sun. Temperatures rise faster than you think. If you see a child or animal in need of help, call police or animal control and stay with the pet/vehicle until they arrive. In Florida, it is now legal to break the window of a vehicle containing a child or animal in danger from the heat.


This article was provided by Robin Cobb, CVT, Territory Partner for Trupanion, a pet insurance company that pays the veterinarian directly.



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