Dogs in SW Florida – Rules and Dangers

SW Florida is sub tropical, mild winters and warm/hot and humid summers. Normally Dogs can adjust well to the heat, but since we are somewhat tropical there are some dangers to our pets we need to deal with.

  1. Heartworms – are being transmitted by mosquitoes and once the dog is infected this is a disease leading to death if untreated. Heartworm treatment is not easy and it is painful for the dog. Also during heartworm treatment the dog is confined to short walks only and needs to rest for several month. However there is a very effective prevention. It is a once a month pill or topical which will not harm the healthy dog but will protect against heartworm infection. I use heartguard plus but there are many other effective preventive medications. Please read more:
  2. Fleas and Ticks – since we don’t have hard winters in SW Florida we are basically dealing with Fleas and Ticks all year around. I have my own dogs on a monthly treatment and have the flea and tick prevention on the same schedule as the heart worm prevention. I dislike topical prevention and don’t like the flea and tick collars either – out of my experience none of them work really good. It seems to me as if our SW Florida fleas love those or at least don’t care to leave. I personally use Nex Gard which is a chewing pill and my dogs love it. They think it is a treat. (Please don’t tell them should you see them)
  3. Bufo Toads – are very unpleasant “frogs” and can be deadly for your pet. Often dogs like to “play” with them and poison themselves while doing so. The skin of the toad is toxic. Please read more here:   Bufo Toad Tips
  4. Alligators and snakes – I live in Florida since over 25 years and always with dogs. None of my dogs ever had an encounter with snakes or alligators. It seems like they have a natural instinct and are avoiding contact. However I would not chance it and watch my dogs very carefully around fresh or brackish water.
  5. Heat – not to leave dogs in the car is a “no brainer” . In Florida this is true for every season – not only for summer. In summer month I limit training my dogs or taking them for long walks to early morning or later afternoon. I always carry plenty of water for the dogs and myself and if I really have to take them to training or longer hikes during the hottest time of the day, they are wearing cooling vests.
  6. We have a leash law in Florida- in most parks and stateparks dogs have to be leashed, also of course in public places.We do have however plenty of dog parks and dog beaches where dogs can run without leashes and socialize with other dogs.
  7. Dogs are not allowed in stores or restaurants, with a few exceptions – and I am happy to say, those exceptions are more and more around.We even now have dog friendly malls and lots of events where you can bring your dog and events all around the dog.

If you are looking for a good boarding kennel and training facility in Lee County – my to go address is:  Boarding Kennel and Dog Training There are several other good Kennels and Trainers in our area – but AAS von Tente Kennel is the one I just love to use. The owners of this Kennel are there 24/7/ they have large indoor outdoor kennels and big runs.

If you are considering flying with your dog – just a few tips.

  1. If it is just a short flight and your dog is small enough to travel in the cabin, I think there is not much you need to do – except to get your dog used to the bag he/she is going to travel in
  2. Longer flights – no matter how big or small your dog is, I would consider flying him/her cargo. It is more comfortable for your dog and yourself. The secret to a pleasant flight is, to get your dog used to his/her crate. Month before your flight start having the crate open in your living room. Start feeding your dog in his flight box, store his/her toys in the box, hide treats in there and his/her favorite blanket. Very soon your dog will see “his” crate as “good” it will become his/her “nest”. When the “big day” arrives – the big flight box will be his/her security and the flight will be ok. Another tip is – get your dog used to drink out of a bunny bottle (the water bottles with a little ball at the end). Specially on longer flights you dog might become thirsty and the bunny bottle attached to the inside of the flight box will help.

All in all my dogs love SW Florida and are very happy here – I have two German Shepherd Dogs 🙂

Please let me know if you have any questions !!

Monika Wilson
English and German
Century 21 Sunbelt
Centurion Producer
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Cape Coral, Florida, 33914
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