How to Keep Your Pets Cool in the Summer Heat
Summer is here, and with it comes the risk of overheating for our furry friends. Pets can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, sunburn, and paw pad burns if they are exposed to high temperatures for too long. Here are some tips on how to keep your pets cool and comfortable during the summer heatwaves.
Provide Plenty of Water and Shade
One of the most important things you can do to keep your pets cool is to make sure they have access to fresh, cold water at all times. You can add ice cubes to their water bowls, or freeze some treats or toys in water for them to lick and chew on. You can also use a spray bottle to mist them with cool water, or wet a towel for them to lie on.
Another essential thing is to provide shade for your pets when they are outside. Avoid direct sunlight and hot surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete, or metal, that can burn their paws and skin. You can use a tarp, a canopy, or a tree to create some shade for your pets. You can also invest in a cooling mat or a cooling vest that can help lower their body temperature through evaporation.
Avoid Exercising During the Hottest Hours
Exercise is good for your pets, but not when it’s too hot outside. Avoid walking or playing with your pets during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Instead, opt for the cooler morning or evening hours, when the temperature is lower and the sun is less intense.
When you do exercise your pets, make sure to take frequent breaks and offer them water and shade. Avoid overexerting them or pushing them beyond their limits. Watch out for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, or collapse. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop the activity immediately and seek veterinary attention.
Keep Your Pets Indoors When Possible
The best way to keep your pets cool in the summer heat is to keep them indoors as much as possible. If you have air conditioning, make sure it’s working properly and set it to a comfortable temperature for your pets. If you don’t have air conditioning, you can use fans, curtains, blinds, or windows to create some airflow and reduce the heat inside your home.
You should also avoid leaving your pets in a parked car, even for a few minutes. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly and become deadly for your pets in a matter of minutes. Even if you crack the windows or park in the shade, it’s not enough to prevent heatstroke. If you have to travel with your pets, make sure they are well-hydrated and ventilated, and never leave them unattended in the car.
Protect Your Pets from Sunburn
Just like humans, pets can get sunburned too. This is especially true for pets with white or light-colored fur, thin or sparse coats, or exposed skin areas, such as their nose, ears, belly, or groin. Sunburn can cause pain, inflammation, peeling, and skin cancer in pets.
To protect your pets from sunburn, you can apply pet-safe sunscreen to their sensitive areas before going outside. You can also use clothing or accessories that can block the sun’s rays, such as hats, shirts, bandanas, or sunglasses. However, make sure they are not too tight or too hot for your pets.
Keeping your pets cool in the summer heat is not only a matter of comfort but also of health and safety. By following these tips, you can help prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries in your pets and enjoy the summer season with them. Remember to always monitor your pets closely for any signs of distress and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.