Welcome to the end of summer, a time where temperatures creep from uncomfortable to “Can I just stay inside, please?” With that heat comes danger—especially for your dogs and cats. Most of us know that dogs and cats don’t sweat like people. They’ve developed other strategies for cooling off like sweating primarily through their paws, but these methods to cope aren’t quite enough to alone deal with excessive summer heat.
We pet parents have to be alert and help our pets through the summer heat. Follow these simple tips to keeping your pets cool this summer:
Limit Your Dog’s Exercise On Hot Days
When exerted, dogs have a hard time cooling themselves down quickly. On a hot day, that can be dangerous, so limit their activities during the days when temperatures rise. Instead, try taking an early morning trip to the park or an evening walk. Not only will the air be cooler, but the asphalt will also be safe to walk on.
Quick tip: If the asphalt is hot to the touch for you, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet. If you have to walk on hot asphalt for some reason, you can use booties or paw wax (yes, wax!) for your pooch.
Brush Your Dog’s or Cat’s Hair Daily
Imagine your pet’s coat similar to an air conditioning filter: the more stuff that clogs your AC’s filter, the less cool air that can circulate through your house. Your pet requires cool air to circulate over its skin, which is very hard to do with trapped hair, dirt and oils in his or her coat. Be sure to brush your pet’s coat daily with a strong brush. We recommend a slicker brush, which is rubber-based and has closely-spaced tines to remove old undercoat effectively.
To remove oils, dirt and other hangers-on, bathe your pet once a week. A wet shampoo that keeps your dog’s coat nourished with vitamins A and E is best and will also have the double-effect of cooling down your pooch. On cats, however, it’s best to use a waterless shampoo.
Shade = Happy Pets
If your dog or cat must be outside in the heat, find a place that will be shady most of the afternoon and set up a big water bowl–with ice if it’s going to be really hot. For shade, we like anything that doesn’t obstruct airflow, so sorry, no dog houses for your pooch during the heat of the day. Instead, set them up under an awning, a strung-up tarp, or simply a tree.
Treat ‘Em With Frozen Treats
You know how popsicles can seriously cool you down? Well, the same goes for your dog or cat. Instead of fruit juice though, freeze low-sodium chicken broth in an ice cube tray and give it to your pet when the heat really sinks in. Blueberries, too, can be frozen for a pet-safe crunchy frozen treat. Just be sure to give them any ‘people food’ in serious moderation, and know what’s safe for them and what isn’t.
Never Leave Your Pet In a Hot Car!
You’re a great pet parent, so we’re obviously just preaching to the choir. But we’re so strongly against leaving pets in hot cars—even with the windows down—that we’re going to repeat ourselves (again).
Just don’t leave your pet in a hot car. In 16 states the law actually prohibits it, and for some of those states, the simple act of doing so can lead to jail time. But that’s not why you shouldn’t do it. You shouldn’t leave your pet in a hot car because even with the windows cracked open, your car can turn into something resembling a kiln. In just 10 minutes, an 85-degree day can turn the ambient temperature inside your car up to 104 degrees. And just after an hour, that 104 turns into 130!
It’s very, very simple: never, ever leave your pet in a hot car.
Beating the Summer Heat
Equipped with some simple care tips, you’re now ready to beat this late-summer heat. Do you have any other tips for cooling down your pets? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!