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Why Animals Do The Thing

Melting, I'm Melting! How to Keep Pets Cool in the Heat

Rachel Garner

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, there’s a heat surge, and everyone is roasting. How can you make sure you help keep your pet comfortable if you don’t have air conditioning? Here’s a couple ways:

Chilled Towels! 

Chill dry towels in the fridge/freezer and put them out for your pets to lay on. (These shouldn’t need supervision for your pets to use, because if chilled dry they shouldn’t get cold enough that you’d want to worry about frostbite). Ice!Put ice cubes in your pet’s water bowl and refresh as needed. Cool water to drink will help them cool off even if it’s warm out.

Ice!

ake ice toys! Freeze treats into bowls of water or diluted low-sodium broth to encourage your pets to lick, chew, and play with the ice throughout the day. (I’ve frequently heard it recommended to not use tuna can juice for this for your cats, because there’s a potential risk that there might be a higher heavy metals concentration in it than a small animal can process easily).

If you regularly feed your dog from Kong toys, you can throw them in the freezer a couple hours before serving.

Fans!

If your pet isn’t afraid of fans, use one (or two) to create an area with lots of airflow. It’s most effective if you position them in a darker, cooler space with non-carpet flooring.

More Water!

Make sure your pet is super well hydrated at all times. They should have multiple water dishes and access to them at all times. 

If you have a yard or don’t mind an indoor mess, set up a wading pool for your pet to hang out in! Not all animals will partake, but for those who enjoy getting wet it’ll be a blast.

If your dog doesn’t mind wearing weird things around it’s neck, cooling bandannas that you get damp and then chill in the fridge are an option! I wouldn’t try it with cats, and it might not be very useful for on long-haired breeds.


Other heat tips!

Double-check with a professional dog groomer before considering shaving your pet to try to help keep it cool. Many breeds have a double-layered coat that helps keep them insulated against both heat and cold, and that will not grow back correctly if shaved even once. Shaving a double-coated dog can make it harder for them to regulate their own temperature and makes them prone to sunburn, so measure twice and cut once, so to speak.

Take your pet for short walks and try to maximize being outdoors with your pet only when it’s as cool as possible. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heatstroke.

Make sure the pavement is safe for your pet’s feet before taking them outdoors. If you can’t comfortably leave the flat of your hand or the sole of your bare foot on the pavement for 5-10 seconds, they’re not comfortable walking on it either! Keep a close eye on your pet’s paw pads for burns, and call your vet if you notice anything abnormal. If you must walk your dog during the heat of the day, consider getting booties to protect their feet from the pavement.

Stay cool!