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Pets and the Summer Heat: How to Keep Them Safe and Cool

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It’s no secret that there has been a lot of extreme heat in many of the states this summer and it doesn’t seem to want to let up. Where I live, it has been extremely hot and humid, which has put a big damper on some of my daily walks with my 9 month old puppy, Zoe. Neither of us has been enjoying the heat, but she loves being outside and going for walks. However, when she is panting quite a bit by the time we get to the top of the driveway, I know there is no way to get her to go for a walk and not have her be overheated.

Dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do, so they have a harder time trying to cool themselves off. Some signs that your pet may be overheated may include excessive panting, increased heart rate, and in extreme cases – vomiting and diarrhea.

Coach Tanya recently shared some tips for helping us stay cool and healthy during extreme heat, but what’s a dog or cat to do in this type of extreme weather? Well, there isn’t much they can say or do about it, but there are plenty of things we, as responsible pet owners, can do to help them stay cool and healthy.

Below are some tips on keeping your pets cool and safe in the heat that I found in this video on Today’s website, along with some other knowledge I’ve picked up along the way through dog training classes and experiences with Zoe.
  • Try to keep your pets inside as much as possible, especially during the hottest times of the day.
  • Don’t leave your pets in a vehicle. Your car is like an oven and will heat up very quickly. It doesn’t take long (even a few short minutes) for your pet to get overheated if left in the car.
  • Hydration – make sure there is fresh water available at all times. If your dog or cat is left outside in the heat, make sure their water is left in a shaded area and that there is plenty of fresh water available to them.
  • Frozen toys can be used to help keep them cool and entertained at the same time. (Zoe, loves playing and chewing on ice cubes and frozen toys.)
  • If you have a dog that enjoys water, you can let them swim in a kiddie pool or run through the sprinklers. (Both of these are Zoe’s favorite activities!) Do your best to put the pool in a shaded area though, and supervise your dog at all times.
Some other things to keep in mind when it is hot outside:
  • If you are going to walk or run with your dog, it is better to exercise with them in the early morning or later evening hours when it is cooler.
  • When you do take your dog out for a walk or run, take some fresh water for them to drink along the way. I like to bring a bottle of water for each of us.
  • Be careful when letting your pets outside. Concrete and asphalt can heat up quickly and burn their pads. Something you can do is put your hand on the concrete, asphalt, or whatever surface they will be on, and hold it there for at least 5 seconds. If it is too hot for your hand to be down there, it is too hot for your pet to stand or walk on.
  • Dogs and cats can get sunburned, especially those with light colored coats and/or noses. Make sure they have plenty of shade and shelter from the sun to help them from being sunburned.
  • Dogs and cats with shorter snouts are more susceptible to the heat.
Following these tips will not only help your pets stay safe and cool in the heat, but they will also be thanking you for being such a loving and caring pet parent.

What do you do to keep your pets cool? Do you have any other tips on keeping your pets cool and healthy during the summer heat?

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