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Tips to help keep your pets cool as the summer heat slowly approaches

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 9:14 am

Well it finally happened. I broke down and turned on our air conditioner. With the looming thought of upper 80s, even possible 90s and having pets in the house during the day I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. Up until Monday we were keeping cool with our attic fan, but as summer pushes forward I decided to turn on our AC as our house heats up pretty fast when it’s warm out, plus we were being attacked by the pollen.

I don’t mind the heat, but I know if I was wearing a fur coat that I couldn’t just take off, it would be another story. For the sake of Kitty (our cat) and Roxy (our dog) we decided it would be best to keep them cool during the day as the sun beats down on the rooftop and warms the house.

Here are some tips from the Humane Society that can help you keep your pets in mind as the temperatures rise.

Watch the humidity:

Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.

Limit exercise on hot days:

On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Don’t rely on a fan:

Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

Provide ample shade and water:

Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible.

Cool your pet outside:

Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak.

Last summer we bought a pool for Roxy to play in while she was outside. It turns out she isn’t exactly a “water dog” so she didn’t play with it too much. She has slowly gotten used to baths so we will try the pool again this summer to see if it will help to provide some outdoor fun in the heat. If she doesn’t like it still, I suppose we will be playing inside more this summer.

By Kristen Harris