Doesn’t it always seem like one day we’re all complaining about how long it’s taking for spring to kick in and then all of the sudden it’s so hot outside that you can’t stand it? That heat isn’t just taking a toll on you, it’s just as uncomfortable for your pets, and it can actually affect their health. So, keep your pets in your plan this summer as you are trying to figure out ways to beat the heat. There are a lot of great ways that you can keep them comfortable and maybe even cool yourself down at the same time. Here are a few tips to help keep your pet cool and safe this summer.
1. Drinking Water
It may sound basic, but having plenty of fresh, drinking water is just as important for them as it is for you, especially if they are outside. You can easily find some on-the-go water bowls, or even make one of your own. In a pinch, a paper cup works just fine. Then, if you’re going to be taking your furry friend outside for awhile, just bring along plenty of water and you both can share.
2. Cool Places
As hot as you are outside, think about how much hotter you’d be wearing a fur coat. Well, that’s what’s going on with your pet. Here are a few ideas for cool places for them outside.
• Keep them in the shade with you, wherever you are.
• Trees are ideal for giving them some relief from the direct sun.
• You might even have a small tent or tee-pee that you could use just for them. It would kind of be like their own little home-away-from-home.
• How about a cooling pad for them to lounge on. Just take an old pillowcase and fill it with frozen ice packs. They’ll figure out what to do with it pretty quickly.
3. Cold Treats
They will appreciate a cold treat on a hot, summer day just as much as you do. For that matter, they’re pretty much always happy about getting treats, aren’t they? Here are some things to think about for cool treats.
• Ice cubes are perfect. Not only will they cool them down, but they will play with them as well.
• How about freezing some of their favorite treats? You can even use some of their toys that let you stuff treats inside of them.
• Dogs love ice cream. But, ours isn’t very healthy for them, or for us for that matter. How about making some homemade doggie-safe ice cream? You can find a lot of easy recipes online.
• You can even freeze water bottles and teach your dog to play fetch with them.
4. Play With Water
Playing with water is always fun. It can also be great exercise for them. And, you can even play with them if you want. Just jump into a swimsuit, grab your garden hose, and start spraying water. Or maybe turn on the sprinkler and let them run through it. You could even have a little, kiddie pool set up for them to splash around in. Your dog will love it! You could also set up an area for an outside dog-washing station. It might come in very handy after you’re done playing in the water.
5. Protect Their Paws
The pads on the bottom of dog’s paws are one of their natural defense mechanisms against heat and actually help to keep them cool. So, they are very sensitive to heat, especially hot walking surfaces like asphalt and concrete.
There are some protective creams that you can buy that will keep their paws safe, or you could search for your own DIY recipe and make it yourself. It’s also a good idea to spray down decks, sidewalks, and driveways with water if you and your dog are outside. They’ll thank you for it.
6. Plan Their Exercise Time
They still need their exercise, even on the hottest days. But, you might need to change their routine a bit on those really hot days. Maybe give them their exercise time in the morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t at it’s brightest. And, have plenty of water outside with them.
Keeping your pets clean and groomed is always important, especially in the summer. They will sweat more, and all of that extra perspiration will trap more dirt in their fur, making it that much hotter for them.
Cats will do a great of job on their own of keeping their fur clean and thinned out. But, dogs will need a little help. Keeping their fur trimmed with regular grooming and brushing will help a lot.
Some dogs can also get sunburned if they are in direct sunlight for too long, especially if they have shorter, lighter colored fur or have been freshly groomed. There are sunscreens that are made especially for dogs with sensitive skin.
As much as dogs love to ride in cars, tongues wagging out the window and all, unless you are planning on taking them out of the car when you get where you’re going, don’t give in to the temptation of giving them a ride. Leaving them inside of your car on a hot day, even just for a few minutes, can be fatal.
10. How do You Know if Your Pet is too Hot?
Even though your pets can’t talk to you, they’ll show some visible signs when their little bodies are starting to overheat.
• Dogs need to pant. But, excessive panting, heavy drooling, or rapid breathing are signs that they need some relief from the heat.
• With cats, any sign of panting ever is a concern, especially if they’re in the heat. They will also have sweaty paws, vomiting, diarrhea and can even become lethargic if their bodies are overheating.