How to Keep Your Pets Cool and Safe During the Sweltering Summer

dog and cat outside in sun chasing butterfly

dog and cat outside in sun chasing butterfly

Our pets are COOL. Right?

They are the coolest, funniest, smartest, most attractive, most loyal creatures on the face of the earth. Right?

Americans LOVE their pets, spending more than 103 BILLION dollars on them each year.

We get it. We have always had a family dog. For years, Leroy Brown, a Jack Russell, made us laugh with his antics. Now we have Tybee Jones, a Bedlington Terrier, and he is an important part of our family.

Yes, our pets are without doubt, cool, cool creatures.

But how “cool” are they really during the sweltering heat of summer? Pets are affected by the heat, just like we are, only they don’t have coping mechanisms…and they’re wearing fur coats!

Consequences of extreme heat on animals


All animals, birds, and marine life are affected by prolonged elevated temperatures. During recent heat waves, baby hawks who couldn’t fly yet threw themselves out of the nest to escape the heat. Thousands of cattle died in Kansas, and fish are dying before they get out of the egg stage because the water is too hot.

Your pets, too, could suffer heat stroke and illness because of the heat.

Don’t think that animals are immune to the danger.

Warning signs your pet is too hot
 

  • Thick, ropy saliva
  • Open-mouth breathing (for cats)
  • Inability to respond to commands
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Deep, brick red tongue and gums (for dogs)

How to keep your pets cool and safe during the sweltering summer? Six tips:

ONE: Let them in


If possible, bring pets into your air-conditioned home.

Remember that if it’s hot for you, it’s even worse for your pet. Animals can die from heat, just like humans can. One biology professor from UC Berkeley described how animals feel in extreme heat in human terms:

“If you had to run a marathon wearing a plastic bag over your head

while it’s ten degrees warmer outside, you’d die, too.”

Cool air - below 80 degrees - is best for most animals.

TWO: Fan the fur


If you have outside animals, keep them cool by putting them near a fan.

Put them in their kennel or cage and point a fan directly on them. Circulating air doesn’t cool the air temperature, but it does push heat away. For humans, a fan helps our sweat evaporate more quickly, cooling us off. Animals don’t sweat like we do, but the moving air is better than still air.

THREE: Provide shade

If you have trees or bushes, your animal will probably wind up in the shade under them.

If you don’t have any shade, consider planting a tree for next year.

If you don’t have trees, any kind of shade canopy will help. But erecting any kind of shade canopy will help your animal. Consider a collapsible patio tent or shade umbrella to shelter your pets.

FOUR: Know your breed


Certain animals have an even harder time in the heat than others.

Boston terriers, pugs, and bulldogs - dogs with flat faces and short snouts - struggle in the heat because they don’t pant as well as other breeds.

Persian and Himalayan cats are not adapted to heat.

Dogs with thick coats like Golden Retrievers and Huskies, along with Siberian cats, have a hard time with hot temperatures.

Keep these breeds inside as much as possible to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

FIVE: Water, water, water!

Make sure that your animals have plenty of cool, clean water. Check their bowls. Put ice cubes in the water to keep it cool. (You wouldn’t want to drink hot water, would you?)

Some veterinarians suggest making unsweetened, frozen treats for your pet. Freeze plain water in popsicle or icecube trays or use water with beef or chicken broth dissolved into it for your special “pupsicle!”

Consider buying a spray bottle to mist your animal. Many stores sell attachments for the garden hose that create a fine mist for pets. Veterinarians and pet supply stores also sell quart misters with attached fans that you can use to keep your pets cool.

You can also wet a towel and drape it over your animal to help keep body temperature down.

SIX: Keep your dog out of the car!


No matter what, do NOT take dogs with you in the car in the summertime if you plan to leave them inside it.

Parking in the shade doesn’t matter.

Cracking the windows down doesn’t help.

Providing water doesn’t cool the car down!

Running quick errands of even a few minutes while your dog waits in the car is downright dangerous.

Even at a low temperature of 70 degrees, the temperature within an idle car can rise to 100 degrees within 20 minutes. Hotter than 70, and temperatures inside a parked car can climb to 140 degrees in less than an hour.

If you know how hot it is when you get into a car after it’s been closed on a summer day, you can imagine what it would be like to suffer that heat for more than a few minutes.

In Florida and twenty-seven other states, it is illegal to leave your dog in a parked car.

Protect your pets

We like hot dogs, but only when we’re talking about picnics!

ServiceOne loves animals, and we want to protect them. Call us for help with your air conditioning, plumbing, and drain-cleaning problems so you can keep all the critters (both animal and human) cool, comfortable, and safe in the sweltering hot heat of summer! if
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