Keeping Your Pets Cool This Summer
As the weather continues to get hotter it is important to look out for the furry member of the family. Like humans, cats and dogs need to keep cool during the summer months. Fortunately, there are many great, creative, ways to keep your pets cool and prevent heatstroke.
To help your furry friend here are 5 ways you can keep your pet cool during summer.
1. Air conditioning
A common choice is using your air conditioning to keep your pets cool. This may be surprising to some, but a large number of pet owners choose to leave the air conditioner on for their pet while they are away from home. A study in the UK found that 52% of UK pet owners left the heat running for their pet when they go out. Some even left the TV or radio on so that their pet didn’t feel lonely during the owner’s absence.
Air conditioning is a great option if you have energy-efficient systems and can leave your pet in the same room as the air conditioner. It will keep your pet cool while you are away and reduce the risk of heatstroke. Just ensure that you keep lots of water in the room with them.
For those who don’t want to leave the air conditioner running all day, there are some great, creative options to keeping your pets cool.
2. Creating cool spaces
Creating a cool space in your home can go a long way to helping your pet deal with the heat. Use tiles, water, fans, shade, and more to create a space your pet can go to and rest when they get hot. Tiles offer a cool surface for your pets to lie down on, so try to keep a tiled space cool for your pets to enjoy during the hotter months.
3. Cooling mats
Cooling mats are great alternatives for your pets than sleeping on the tiles. As summer kicks in, dog and cat beds can become too hot for your pet to lie in. Animals then tend to lie on the tiles. However, for older pets especially, this can be hard on their joints. An excellent alternative is a cooling mat or bed.
Cooling mats come in many different forms, offering a cool, comfortable place for your pet to sleep. There are three types of cooling mat:
- Water filled mats: you fill these with water, and they stay cool for around 5-7 hours. They work well, however, they are not a good option for chewers. They can also leak or get mildewy.
- Pressure activated cooling pads: These contain gel-based pads that are designed to absorb your pet’s heat, cooling them down.
- Phase-changing cooling pads: These mats are filled with cold packs. Often, these will stay cool for longer than other cooling mat alternatives.
4. Water play
When you are home, water play is a great way to have fun while keeping cool.
For dogs and cats, misting is great for keeping them cool. Use a light spray to mist around your cat or dog to give them some cool relief. Cats and dogs release heat through their paws so keeping those paws cool with water can provide relief. Splash around with them in baby pools or use the hose (water restrictions permitting) on concreted surfaces to provide a cool, wet space.
While cats may be more difficult with water play, some love splashing around with running water or small bowls of water. Providing these opportunities, if your cat enjoys it, during summer is a great way to keep them cool.
5. Cool treats
Give your cat or dog cool treats through summer like food in ice cubes! Play fetch games or reward them after some exercise with frozen treats. Both cats and dogs will love playing with these, often licking them up until they are gone, cooling themselves down in the process. Cats will also often play with them with their paws, offering cooling to their paws.
Pet popsicles are really easy to make, simply whip up a combination of your furry friend’s favourite foods and let them have a ball licking up the cold treat.
While these are some great ways to keep your pet cool there are some things as pet owners we need to avoid in order to keep our pets comfortable during summer.
For dog owners, ensure that you do not go for walks during the day. Dogs have sensitive paws that can result in them being easily burnt by the hot ground. If you can’t go outside on a long walk without shoes on neither can your dog.
Light skinned dogs and cats are susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. You should keep them indoors and out of the sun during summer to protect their skin. If they must go outside, ensure that you put sunscreen on their nose and other exposed skin to reduce the risk.
It can be very tempting to shave your long-haired dog or cat for summer; however, this could mess up their natural cooling mechanisms. Some dogs have double coats. This is a coat with two layers, one designed to keep them warm (which they shed before summer) and another designed to keep them cool and protect from the sun. By shaving your long-haired animal, you will remove both coats, forcing them to regrow the warmer coat first. Instead, talk to a professional groomer to ensure your dog is getting the correct haircut for the temperature and breed.
Pets are a part of the family, and just like we do for any family member, we should watch out for their health. Look out for signs of heat stress in your animals, big or small, to ensure they remain healthy through this summer. Follow these tips and your dog or cat should remain cool throughout the hot days ahead.