Summer is always equated with fun. The kind of fun you want to share with your furry family. But how do you keep your pets cool, safe and healthy when the temperatures are soaring? A pet that gets too hot can get heatstroke, which is not caught quickly enough can lead to death. Remember, when you are throwing on tank tops and shorts, your dogs and cats are still wearing their fur coats.
What can you do to help your fur babies get through the summer heat? Here are six hot weather safety tips for keeping pets (and you!) cool this summer.
1. Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Pets, especially dogs and cats, are prone to dehydration particularly during extremely hot days. Water is needed to help ensure the proper functioning of cells. If pets get dehydrated, cells will not function properly. This can lead to a host of health problems and the pet’s nervous system can actually shut down.
Tip number 1 is to always have a water bottle handy, especially when taking your pet outdoors on a warm, sunny day. You may also want to bring collapsible water bowls to make it a lot easier for your pet to drink. Adding a few drops of canned tuna broth in the water can help entice cats to drink since their thirst drive is not as well-developed as dogs.
If you’re at home, always offer plenty of fresh water to drink. It may also be wise to put several water bowls or even pet fountains in strategic locations around the house so that your pet will have something to drink from wherever it goes. Cats will benefit most from pet fountains as the free-flowing movement of water simulates prey.
Want to really spoil your fur babies? Tip number 2 is to give them something cold to eat! We are huge fans of these delish collections of cold treats for hot days.
You can even freeze fruit chunks, like watermelon, to give them when you are out and about. Pack those frozen treats in a soft sided, insulated lunch box for both of you to snack on. Sweet!
2. Don’t Skip the Vet Visit
Summer is that time of year when fleas and ticks are at their most active. They’re like the spring breakers or the summertime vacationers flocking to various destinations all over the world. Warm weather is a sign for these ectoparasites to frolic. The really icky part about these buggers is that once they move in, they settle right into comfortable living in your home. Stay one step ahead of them with our Flea & Tick Outbreak tool in the Scollar app.
A visit to your vet should help you determine the best possible protection for your pet. Your vet can also perform a very thorough examination of your pet so that different health issues can be addressed properly. This also helps prepare your pet for the summer heat. You can also ask your vet for more specific instructions on how you can help your pet stay cool and safe in hot weather.
3. Learn the Signs of Heatstroke
It's important to know that signs of heatstroke in animals.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting and/or salivating
- Obvious discomfort
- Vomiting and diarrhea
If you see these symptoms, call your vet right away.
4. Avoid Leaving Your Pet Inside Your Car
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your pet inside your car parked under the sun. You may think that since the environmental temperature is at 80 degrees, then it should be fairly safe for your pet. Studies show that this 80° can actually turn into 100 to 120° inside the car within minutes. If it is 90 degrees outside, your car’s cabin temperature can easily reach 160° within 10 minutes.
Considering that pets are more sensitive to temperature changes than humans (remember that fur coat!), this rise in cabin temperature can easily kill your pet. Even cracking your car windows open will not cool the cabin temperature. It may reduce the temperature but only by a fraction.
If it is unavoidable that you have to leave your pet inside your car even for a while, it is a lot better to just leave them at home. If not, make sure to bring them with you. You can let them walk on a leash, but make sure they wear appropriate paw-wear to protect their paws from the hot pavement.
5. Let Your Pets Have Fun with Water
If your pets are not afraid of water, now’s the best time to let them play in your garden. There are sprinkler systems designed specifically for pets. If you don’t have one, you can actually improvise using a large plastic soda bottle. Punch some holes through the bottle and attach this to your garden hose. Seal off the opening and you’ve got an instant sprinkler. You may also want to invest in a pet swimming pool, or if you have a bathtub you’re no longer using, put it in the garden for your furry pals.
You need to keep your pets cool. While giving them plenty of water to drink can address their need for hydration, sometimes you’ll also need the cooling effects of water yourself especially during hot summer days. Some dogs actually love taking a dip in a pool that’s filled with ice, helping them feel a lot more comfortable.
Since pets cool themselves through their paws, make sure you give them ways to get their paws wet. Sprinklers on lawns, kiddie pools, hikes next to creeks and rivers... all good ways to allow puppers to get cooled off quicker.
6. Only Go Out at Certain Times of the Day
Environmental temperatures are often at their peak between 10am and 4pm. If you can, avoid going outdoors with your pet during these times of the day. If you have a daily routine with your pet such as walking or jogging, you may want to do it early in the morning, late afternoon, or even early evening when environmental temperatures are a lot more comfortable for your pet. You can also take them out at night, although you will have to put other safety measures in place.
Pavement can get very hot and burn your pet's paws. Additionally, animals sweat through their paws. Walking on hot pavement makes cooling themselves even harder. Consider getting your puppers protective balm or insulated booties for their paws. And, since dogs relieve themselves outside, be sure to have a nice, shady, cool spot for them to do their business.
It is important to keep track of humidity levels as well. It may be a comfortable 70° outside, but if the relative humidity is also great, this 70-degrees can easily feel like 90°. Those hot, humid days are perfect for indoor pet fun with toys like a cat feather bouncer or a hide the treats all over the house game for your puppers.
7. Keep Your Home and Your Pet’s Home Cool
At the end of a hot day, you and your pet will be happy to come home to a cool house. If you live in a hot area, make sure that your air conditioning unit is working properly. Also, make sure your house has adequate ventilation to keep air flow moving throughout.
If your doggo is panting when you get home, put a bottle filled with frozen water next to them where they lay down. Or fill a plastic bag with ice cubes and lay it across their belly when they lay down. You can even get them a cooling mat! And remember those frozen treats you made earlier, be sure to give one to your furry pal to reward them for being so good.
Note: Panting in cats is not normal and should be followed up right away with a call to your vet.
8. Groom Them Often
Did you know that regular grooming helps keep them cool too? The coat of your dog or cat acts as an insulating layer. the key is to keep it trimmed, brushed, and free of mats and knots. This allows for better air flow through their fur, which helps them cool off.
Keeping pets safe during hot weather is a responsibility of every pet parent. Our pets are largely dependent on us for care and protection. Observing these tips should help you keep your pet cool when the Summer heat is soaring.
Happy Summering, Scollar Pack!