Most people across the country expect summer to be hot. But, this year has really been heating things up – and not in a good way. Many parts of the country have experienced record-breaking heat, causing problems like droughts and wildfires. Death Valley even hit a high of 130 degrees, tying a record for the hottest place on the planet.
As humans, dealing with extreme temperatures can be oppressive but not impossible to handle. We have the luxury of air conditioning, and we know how to stay hydrated and cool as much as possible.
But, what about your four-legged friends? How would it feel to walk around in oppressive heat with a layer of thick fur surrounding your skin? If you’re sweating just thinking about it, it’s important to know how to keep your pet safe and cool as temperatures keep rising.
With that, let’s cover a few tips you can use to keep your pets cool all summer, whether you’re inside or outside, and no matter which part of the country you’re in.
Keep Things Cool at Home
The easiest way to keep your dog feeling frosty is to keep them indoors as much as possible. Keeping your home cool during a heatwave is important for humans and animals. The ideal temperature for dogs in the home is 68-72 degrees. It’s a bit warmer for cats, but if you like to keep things cool, you can make sure your cat stays comfortable with a few extra blankets.
Keeping your home set at the right temperature means taking care of your HVAC system. The last thing you want is for your air conditioning unit to break down in the middle of the summer. So, keep these tips handy to make sure it’s running smoothly:
- Get a pre-season checkup (or mid-season if you haven’t already!)
- Watch for leaks
- Make sure the motor is unrestricted if it’s outside
- Make sure you’re using the correct amount of refrigerant
In addition to keeping your A/C unit in top shape, you can keep your pets cooler inside by keeping them in rooms with tile or cement floors. Those are naturally cooler surfaces. If your pet lays down on them, it can cool down their stomachs quickly and spread to the entire body.
Stay Safe Outside
Pets – especially dogs – need plenty of exercise. How much exercise depends on the breed, size, and energy level of your pet. But, most dogs need anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day.
Unfortunately, trying to do something as simple as taking a walk outside can cause you and your pet to overheat quickly. It’s important to stay hydrated and cool when you’re outside, especially if you’re doing a lot of physical activity. Keep a water bottle for yourself and an extra for your pet when you’re outside, and make sure you’re both taking frequent drink breaks.
It’s also a good idea to be strategic with your outdoor activities. No matter how it gets during the day, you can keep your pet a bit cooler by doing things like:
- Going out with them early in the morning or in the evening
- Finding shady areas to play in
- Spending more time outside on cooler days
- Getting creative with your exercises – like running through a sprinkler or swimming
Speaking of creativity, the more fun you can have with your pets while staying cool, the better! It’s not uncommon for people to get a little “cranky” when the weather gets hot. Finding fun ways to cool off can help you and your pet.
Find Fun Ways to Cool Off
So, what can you do to have fun and keep your pet cool this summer? It depends on how much “work” you want to put into it. There are always things you can buy that will help your pet chill out, including pet-friendly ice cream. Or, you can take things one step further by putting some of your pet’s favorite toys into a bowl with water and freezing it. They’ll have fun trying to dig out their things while enjoying an icy treat along the way.
You could also throw a pool party for your pet every day! If you don’t have your own pool, you’ll get a lot of laughs out of investing in a kiddie pool for your four-legged friend. Plus, they’ll splash around so much that you’re likely to get a little wet, too! If you don’t have room for even a kiddie pool, you could get a “sploosh” pad, as they are often called on social media. Splash pads are highly popular for pets.
If your furry family member likes being outside, try creating a shady sanctuary for them somewhere in your backyard. Put a dog house or some type of shelter underneath a large tree. Make sure there is plenty of water nearby, and perhaps a cooling mat for extremely hot days.
It’s important to remember that animals can experience heat exhaustion faster than humans. Whether you’re inside or outside most of the summer, keeping your pet cool and safe should be a top priority. Put these tips into practice, and you’ll both be more comfortable during the dog days of summer.