As summer sweeps us up in its waves of heat and humidity, it becomes all that much more important to keep a watchful eye on our furry friends. If the heat’s got you down, imagine what it would do to you if you had a permanent coat of fur all over your body. Here are five simple things you can do to keep your four-legged friend cool as a cucumber this summer season.
1. Provide frozen treats
We are not the only ones who enjoy popsicles and ice cream during summer. Make your pet a special treat that they will enjoy munching on while simultaneously cooling down. For cats, try freezing wet food, cat-safe milk, or a mix of dry food, water, and catnip in a plastic container. For dogs, a similar combination of their favorite foods or a simple peanut butter popsicle is ideal.
2. Replenish water bowls
If your pet likes a few different rooms in your house, you might want to provide individual water bowls for each room. Replenish with fresh, ice-cold water (and a few ice cubes) many times throughout the day to make sure they stay hydrated.
3. Maintain a cool atmosphere
Never put your pets in a hot vehicle or any enclosed space without proper ventilation. The general rule of thumb: If you do not enjoy it, they will not either. Place towels over spaces/surfaces your pets frequent, which are prone to absorbing heat. Provide air conditioning or a fan positioned by a window. Always be sure to check that fan blades are adequately covered and that window sills are secure.
4. Limit activity to avoid overexertion
Generally, it is best to avoid taking your pet out on warmer days than 85 degrees. Please do not force them to play, exercise or walk great distances on exceptionally hot days. If you absolutely must bring them, as is the case with assistance dogs, provide a cooling vest, which contains spaces for ice packs and which will keep them from overheating. Also, be sure to bring water on long trips to keep pets hydrated. The greater the exertion, the more integral hydration is.
5. Keep them properly groomed
Always be mindful of your pet’s coat. Keep it brushed, detangled, and, for long-haired breeds, trimmed adequately. Use a cool, damp towel to pat down your pet after brushing. An edgy lion cut or shaved tummy can do wonders to keep pets cooler during summertime… and mix up their look a bit.
Always monitor your pet’s behavior (especially older, pregnant and diabetic pets, along with those suffering from a chronic ailment); remember they can’t tell us what they are feeling, it is vital to be aware of the signs of heatstroke (lethargy, excessive panting, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, sweaty paws) and spring into action the second we notice them.
If you suspect heatstroke, be sure to get pets to a veterinarian immediately, as subcutaneous fluids can be administered and potentially save their lives. Our pets provide unconditional love and comfort to us daily; shouldn’t we do the same for them?