It’s no joke; it’s really hot out there. We’re in a serious heatwave with water restrictions looming and no end in sight. As a matter of fact, the short burst of rain that we just had was the first signs of moisture to fall from the sky in 47 days. That’s very significant.
When it gets hot, our skin perspires and keeps us marginally cool. That’s not the same for our beloved pets. Cats are a bit better off as they can groom themselves and the licking leaves a little on their fur which evaporates and has a cooling effect, but it’s not very efficient. Both dogs and cats cool primarily through the pads on their paws and through their panting; they don’t cool through their skin like us.
We love our pets dearly so try these tips to help make them more comfortable during the hottest time of the year.
- Note that breeds with shorter snouts have a much harder time managing their heat. Dog breeds like pugs, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Chows and any cross-breeded dogs will all need a little more help to keep cool.
- Access to water. While we really need to watch our water use right now, it’s perfectly fine to keep ample bowls of water around the house for your pets. Keep it full and keep it fresh, they’ll be lapping up as much as they need to keep cool and stay hydrated.
- Pool time! If you have anything that your dog can splash in, fill it up. A children’s wading pool is perfect as your poochie family member will likely be drawn to the cooling of the water as they jump in and out of the pool. Even if the water is warm, they will cool once they jump out of the pool. They will LOVE this!
- Be very careful when going for walks. Try to avoid the peak heat of the day as the cement roads and sidewalks can burn your dogs pads. This is terrible as they need their pads to keep cool and might not be able to walk properly after a burn. Stick to the grass if you have a park nearby, a backyard with a lawn or a grassy boulevard, stick to those spots. If you must go for a walk, try to do this during the morning or the evening when the sun hasn’t turned the sidewalks into frying pans.
- Leave your pooch at home! This can’t be more stressed. Pets die in cars every year from exposure and one is too many; just leave them at home. There is no good reason to drag your pet with you in the car to run errands, absolutely none. Even with the windows down, the sun beating down on the car heats it up like a sauna and all you’re doing is causing your pet serious distress. If we all experimented by rolling the windows down a crack and sitting in a car for 20 minutes, we would all realize how serious it can get in a very short amount of time. Just don’t.
- Keep a mister handy. If your pet seems ‘off’, try misting their paws or even their faces. Dogs will love this, but you might get some resistance from your feline family member. Misting from above might have a better effect, so test it first so you’re not spraying a ferocious blast of water into your pets face.
- Make a cooling mat for your dog or cat. There are tons of great DYI ideas for cooling mats using a bit of material and some cheap ice packs. Take this one or this one for inspiration! They will love you AND it! Or, how about a cooling VEST; these look amazing.