Summer is here and the weather is hot. Those of us with pets get worried about keeping them from overheating, especially while we’re at work. Here’s how to keep your pets safe, healthy, and comfortably cool during a heat wave.
1. Prioritize hydration
During the rest of the year, just two or three water bowl changes is enough. But during the hot months, you’ll not only want to refill regularly, but you should also consider adding bowls with cold water throughout the house, especially if you live in a large home. This will offer your pets easy access to hydration when the high temps make them sluggish.
2. Learn to spot heatstroke
One of the most important things to know is how to spot the signs of heatstroke in an animal. Are they panting or drooling a lot? Are their gums red? Get them a damp cloth, some cold water, and get them to a vet as soon as possible, as heatstroke can be deadly.
3. Create shade
Keeping the hot rays of light from shining down on your pet will help prevent them from overheating. It will also keep your indoor temperature down. Try closing the blinds and your curtains when the sun is out, especially when you are about to leave the house. Also ensure you have set up a shady area in your yard for outside time.
4. Trim, but don’t shave
Worried all their fur is making them uncomfortably hot? Well, remember that dogs and cats have a special layer of insulating fur that not only keeps them warm during winter months and harsh weather, but also protects them from excess sun exposure and superficial injuries. Take them to the groomer to give them a cute summer haircut, but do not shave all the way to the skin. (See also: 6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets)
5. Keep the A/C and fans running
You don’t need to keep the A/C on for the entire house. Keep your pet’s favorite spot cool with a portable air conditioning unit or simply a fan to keep the air circulating, so your beloved furry companion isn’t languishing under sweaty, stagnant air.
6. Apply a damp cloth
If you notice your pet might be overheating, a fast way to get them cooled off is by applying a cool, damp cloth to their body, face, and paws. You might need to do this a handful of times throughout a hot day, but your pet will experience some instant relief.
7. Keep them indoors
Outdoor time is important for dogs, but make sure that when it’s above 90 degrees, that they have plenty of time indoors. If you need to leave your dog in the yard while you’re away, make sure you’ve set up a shady area with lots of water where they can rest.