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How To Keep Your Pets Cool

A dog sits next to a running fan to cool off.

For many people, nice weather means taking their pets on walks and other fun outdoor activities. However, particularly during the summer months, you want to be sure to understand the dangers of extreme heat and how it can affect your pet’s health.

 

Animals have similar medical conditions as humans when exposed to excessive heat, including heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn. With education around prevention and preparation, like having cool water on hand and taking regular breaks in the shade, you can help keep your pets safe and comfortable all summer.

Have Plenty of Water On Hand

Bring a water bowl and fill it up whenever you stop for a rest during particularly hot months, because your pets should always have access to water. If you’re going to be out for an extended period, consider bringing along a portable water dispenser.

 

Pets can quickly become dehydrated, so giving them regular sips of water throughout your walk or hike is essential. Dehydration can cause several health problems, so it’s best to be more cautious and offer water more often than you think they need.

Provide Indoor Shade

When you’re not home with your pet, prepare a cool and comfortable space for them to relax. Since dogs and cats can’t sweat and cool themselves off as efficiently as humans, they are more prone to heat stroke, so they must have a shaded or dark place to escape the heat.

 

If possible, move your pet’s bedding or crate into a dark room with air conditioning. If this isn’t an option, open the windows and install a ceiling fan to help circulate the air.

 

Keep your house cool by avoiding electrical outages and inspecting your circuit boxes and wiring. This is an effective way to cool off pets during the hotter months. Additionally, window shares or room-darkening curtains can help keep the space cool and free from direct sunlight that can make it unbearable for your pets. 

Use Cooling Beds

Some cooling beds and mats on the market can help keep your pet cool during the summer. These products work by absorbing your pet’s body heat and then releasing it back into the air.

 

You can find cooling beds for dogs and cats, which are a great way to help your pet stay comfortable in the heat. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before using them, as some products must be frozen or refrigerated beforehand.

Program Your AC

If you have air conditioning at home, ensure it is set to come on during the day when you’re gone. It will help keep your home comfortable and cool for your pet while you’re away.

 

If you don’t have a working air conditioner, make sure to get it repaired or install a new AC unit before the summer heat hits. Pets can suffer heat stroke and other health problems if left in a hot environment for too long.

 

Keep in mind that if you are running several AC units, it could increase your electric bill. However, there are several ways to significantly lower energy costs, such as using a programmable thermostat. This can be helpful at night when the temperature outside drops but your home is still warm.

Give Frozen Treats

Keep your pet cool from the inside out by giving them frozen treats. There are many recipes for homemade dog or cat ice cream that you can make with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.

 

You can also purchase commercially made pet-safe frozen treats at your local pet store. These are great to have on hand for a quick and easy way to cool your pet down, and they can also be a great way to keep your pet hydrated.

Play Inside

If the weather is too hot to take your pet outside, there are plenty of ways to keep them entertained indoors. This can help prevent them from overheating and allow you to have plenty of fun with your furry friends.

 

Set up an indoor obstacle course for your dog to navigate, or play a game of fetch in the air conditioning. For cats, set up a climbing tree near a window so they can enjoy the outdoors from the safety of your home.

 

You can also invest in some pet-safe toys that will help keep them entertained and mentally stimulated, like puzzle feeders or treat dispensing toys.

Do Water Activities

You can do several water-based activities to keep your pet cool in the summer heat. If you have a pool, set up a shallow section for your dog to splash around. If you don’t have a pool, bring along a spray bottle or hose to give them a quick misting when they start to overheat. You can also fill a small kiddie pool for them to lounge in.

 

If you’re near a body of water, take advantage of it and spend a day at the beach with your pet. They’ll love playing in the waves and digging in the sand. Just be sure to bring along plenty of water and watch them closely to avoid sunburn, drowning accidents, or secondary drowning symptoms.

Manage Shedding

If your pet is prone to shedding, you’ll want to take extra care to groom them during the summer months. Regular brushing will help remove loose hair and keep their coat healthy. If your pet is resistant to being brushed, try using a de-shedding tool. These can be especially helpful in removing undercoat hair that can contribute to overheating.

 

Lastly, trimming their hair down at the beginning of the hot seasons can help your pet stay cooler. Just be sure not to cu too close to the skin, as this can put them at risk for sunburn.

Signs of Heat Stroke in Pets

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can be dangerous if not treated immediately. Be on the lookout for these signs of heat stroke in your pet:

 

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathingDogs and cats pant to evaporate moisture from their tongues, which cools them down. If they are panting excessively or having difficulty breathing, it’s a sign that they are overheating.
  • Drooling or salivating – This is another way of cooling down, so if your pet is drooling excessively, it may be a sign that they are too hot.
  • Staggering or incoordination – If your pet is staggering or having trouble walking, it’s a sign that they are not feeling well. Seek medical attention if this is the case.
  • Seizures – A heat stroke can cause seizures. If your pet has one, get them to the vet immediately.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea – These can also be signs of heat stroke and dehydration. Give them lots of fluids and seek medical attention if they don’t improve.

 

If you notice any of these signs, move your pet to a cool, shady area and provide water if they can drink. Call your veterinarian immediately for further instructions. These are just a few tips to help keep your pet cool during the summer. By taking some precautions and being aware of the signs of heat stroke, you can enjoy the warm weather without worry.

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