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Top 7 Tips to Keep Your Pets Cool and Comfortable This Summer

Here’s how to prioritize their safety without compromising the fun.

Summertime offers many joys for pets. Dogs can frolic on the beach and lounge in the grass after months of rain and winter, while cats can bask in the sun by their favorite window. However, the hotter weather can also bring concerns for pet owners. How can you safely exercise an active dog in the sweltering July heat? How do you ensure your dog or cat is staying hydrated? What are the early signs of heat exhaustion in animals?

Don’t venture outside during the warmest portion of the day.

It can seem apparent, but preparation is necessary. According to Amy Sparrow, president of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and owner of Furkid Sitting and Services in Baton Rouge, if you know that your dog will have a difficult day, you should walk her early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

She advises reducing your walking completely if it’s hot even in the mornings and evenings. “They don’t have to walk in those kinds of temperatures.” Let them smell, let them stroll, says Sparrow, adding that dogs can get as much cerebral exercise as they can from sniffing. Playing games indoors with an energetic dog, like concealing toys or rewards, can also help them unwind.

So what temperature is too high to go for a walk or work out outside? The response is, “It depends,” as with many things.
A danger zone might be reached at “80, 85, or 90 degrees depending on humidity, wind and ventilation, and sun exposure,” according to 34-year-veteran Byron de la Navarre of Animal House of Chicago. “85 in the sun is not the same as 85 in the shade.”
It’s also crucial to remember: Your French bulldog or boxer, for example, are examples of brachycephalic, or “smushed-face” breeds, and they should never spend an extended period of time outside in extreme heat. These canines are more likely to overheat since they have a harder time panting to cool off.

You should never, ever leave your cat or dog in the car.
Please, don’t.
“Cars heat up extremely fast. According to Brian Collins, a veterinarian at the Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center in New York, “having a dog or a cat in a car is not an option in the summer.”

Even in mild weather, the dark seats and inadequate ventilation in cars can pose a risk to your dogs, and many people place their pets in the back of the car where the air conditioning isn’t always sufficient, as noted by de la Navarre.
According to de la Navarre, it’s advisable to turn on the air conditioning in the car before bringing your pet inside on a very hot day, whether for a vet visit or another reason. To keep pets cool in their carriers, you can connect fans to them or buy air conditioning extenders to provide airflow into the rear of the vehicle.

Make staying cool enjoyable.
On a sunny day, you may assist your dog to remain cool without taking away from the enjoyment of seeing him run around outside.
According to Tiffany Jackson, a qualified veterinary technician and the proprietor of Ally 4 Pets, a pet sitting service in Maryland, foldable dog pools are fantastic for puppies that enjoy splashing around in the water. “You can also use the pools to give your pets frozen treats so it’s contained in something easily cleanable,” Jackson says, adding that she enjoys doing this inside her home or on her porch.

Additionally, Jackson recommends making frozen goodies inside of a Kong dog toy. There are hundreds of recipes available online, and Jackson claims that “it will mentally stimulate your dog for 30 minutes” or so. To create a dog-friendly ice pop for your pet, you can also use ice trays or any other type of mold.
If your dog isn’t a big fan of getting wet, consider using a splash pad in instead of a pool on hot days. (Jackson compares splash pads, which shoot water streams for your pet to run through, to “a sprinkler for dogs.”)

Make drinking water a priority.
Collins notes that in a typical setting, healthy dogs and cats would typically drink plenty water, so indoor cats shouldn’t cause too much concern. However, you might need to keep an eye on your dog’s water intake while she’s playing fetch at the dog park or running around the beach, as dogs might get overly enthusiastic and preoccupied and forget to drink. Knowing how much water your pet usually consumes will help you identify times when they may not be getting enough to drink.
Encourage your pet to take breaks and provide them access to water directly to err on the side of caution. If you take your dog somewhere on a regular basis, you should always have chilled water with you in an insulated container.

Collins points out that you shouldn’t force your pet to drink more water than they appear to want because dogs can become ill from excessive water intake due to water toxicity.

Be aware of the heat exhaustion danger factors for your pet.
Collins states that in addition to brachycephalic dogs, other canines that are more prone to heat exhaustion include older and younger dogs, furry dogs, and dark-colored dogs, particularly black dogs.
Additionally, as certain treatments cause your pet to become more sensitive to heat, you should be aware of any side effects. According to Sparrow, dogs who have diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease are also more likely to overheat.

Recognize your pet’s typical behavior.
Many veterinarians state that excessive panting is the first indication that your dog is overheated. According to Collins, the only way to truly define what is “excessive” for your dog is to understand what normal is for them.
Knowing when excessive panting is occurring is crucial, he says. “People should assess whether they should be concerned if they begin to suspect their dog is panting more than usual. They most likely are.”
Additionally, you might observe that your dog becomes drowsy, slows down or stops playing, or seeks out shade.
Because they tend to move around less, especially in the heat, cats are generally better at regulating and tolerating heat than dogs. However, that does not imply they never get too hot. Several veterinarians advise that if you ever witness a cat open-mouth panting, it is an indication that the animal is in serious danger and needs immediate medical attention.

 Act quickly
Collins advises taking immediate action to calm down your pet and bring them inside, where they can cool off in front of a fan or air conditioning, if you detect any strange behavior in them. To assist them cool off, you should give them cool water and give them a good spraying (test the water first; garden hoses can get quite hot in the sun).
Collins notes that covering your dog with a wet towel or blanket isn’t always the best choice because those materials may sometimes trap heat. Additionally, he advises against submerging dogs in cold water since it may unintentionally cause a stressed-out pet to become hypothermic.

According to de la Navarre, you may easily take a pet’s temperature with an infrared thermometer. You should take action to cool down your dog or cat if their temperature exceeds 103 degrees.
Many websites advise pet owners to apply alcohol on their animals’ feet since dogs and cats sweat through their paws and the substance quickly evaporates, cooling the animal. However, de la Navarre advises against doing that trick yourself; only the veterinarians can ensure that the animal doesn’t lick the alcohol off its paws.
You should take your dog or cat to an emergency veterinarian right away if they start exhibiting more worrisome symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as weakness, wooziness, or seizures.

Welcome to The! I'm Henry Edwards, a passionate dog lover and dedicated dog blogger. Here, I share my experiences, tips, and stories to help you and your furry friend enjoy a happy and healthy life together. Join me for: - Training…

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