5 Ways to Protect Your Pets from Summer Heat
Cranking up the AC isn't enough to help pets beat the summer heat. Keep them safe and cool with these simple tips.
1. Keep Them Hydrated
Make sure their water bowl stays full and cold by adding ice cubes throughout the day. “Pets need to replenish the liquid they exhale when panting or breathing as they attempt to lower their body temperature,” says Barry Kellogg, VMD, a member of the board of directors of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. You can also set up a wading pool for your dog to take a dip in.
2. Get Them Comfy
If your home is too warm, you might see your pup leaving behind damp paw prints, signaling that they’re sweating, or notice your cat curled up in a corner obsessively grooming, trying to remain cool. Along with providing your typical fan or air conditioner, help them chill indoors by supplying a cooling bed or mat, available from pet retailers.
3. Consider a Haircut
“Breeds whose hair grows constantly, such as shih tzus, Lhasa apsos and poodles, may benefit from a summer clip,” says Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, author of All Dogs Go to Kevin. But a short clip can permanently alter the coat of huskies, Pomeranians and other pups. Most pets, especially cats, may need their coat to stay cool naturally. If you’re pondering a trim, check with your groomer first.
4. Offer Shade
When the temperature soars beyond 90 degrees, your pet should avoid direct sunlight while outdoors. “This is especially true of dogs with dark-colored fur, who absorb heat more quickly than those who are lighter colored,” says Kellogg. In your backyard, encourage your dog or cat to lie under a tree that provides shade, or use an umbrella or tarp to shield them from the sun.
5. Never Leave Them in a Hot Car
Not even for just a moment. “The interior of a car can jump 20 degrees or more in a matter of minutes when it’s sunny out,” says Vogelsang. And keeping the windows slightly open won’t help matters either. If your pet is tagging along for a drive, remember to take them with you when you step out of the vehicle.
Is It Heatstroke?
If you notice these signs of overheating, get your pet to the vet immediately.
• Body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (use a pet thermometer to determine)
• Heavy/excessive panting
• Rapid heartbeat
• Redness of the tongue and mouth
• Lethargy or anxiety
Good to know: Persian cats and dog breeds such as boxers, pugs and bulldogs are more susceptible to the dangers of heat because their short noses and airways make it harder for them to pant.
Cool treat! Learn how to make refreshing Kiwi-Strawberry-Banana Pupsicles for your dog at familycircle.com/pupsicle.
Photo: GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Getty Images