How to Keep your Pet Cool in Hot Weather
While you’re cool indoors, think about your pets. Are they cool and comfortable too, or are their lives in danger?
A dog’s or cat’s normal temperature is at least five degrees higher than a human’s. If they’re confined in a yard or dog run, with no way to escape from the heat, they may become victims of heat stroke, which can be fatal.
spcaLA offers the following hot weather pet care tips:
- Water to prevent dehydration: Plenty of clean, cool drinking water is a must at all times.
- Protection from the sun: If your pet must stay in the yard, instead of the cool indoors, be sure he has adequate shade and ventilation.
- Park your pet at home: Never leave your pet in a parked car, not even for five minutes. It could cost him his life. The temperature in a parked car can soar to 160 degrees within minutes, even with the windows left slightly open.
- Emergency Care: If a pet is overcome by heat (detected by excessive panting, is heavily salivating, and/or immobile) immerse him slowly in cool water to lower his body temperature, then contact a veterinarian. Never immerse a pet in ice cold water, it may cause him shock.
- Keep Pets Groomed: Clip long or matted coats short to help your pet stay cool, but remember that pets, like people, can get sunburned too and coats should not be TOO short.
- Health Check: Carefully go over your pet’s body at least once a week to check for fleas, ear mites and tiny bumps or cuts. Bring your pet to the vet for a summer check-up and use a good flea and tick repellent recommended by your vet.
- Fleas: Fleas need to be attacked on three fronts: on the pet, in the home and in the yard.
- Exercise: Exercise pets in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.
- Prevent Burns: Dog pads burn easily, so avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt on hot days.
- Identification: With the hotter weather, families and their pets are outside more often, increasing the chances of a pet getting lost. Make sure your pets always wear proper identification.
Fun heat relief ideas:
- Ice Trays: Freeze stock into ice cubes for your dog to lick or freeze a treat in each ice cube.
- Kiddie Pools: Fill a kiddie pool with water and let your dog splash. Toss a few of the ice cube treats in the water for him to hunt for. Remember to drain the pool between uses – standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes!
- Frozen Pops: Make your dog a delicious frozen treat to enjoy!
- Pumpkin Pops: Whisk together 1.5 oz vanilla pudding, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1 cup milk. Gently stir in 1 can pumpkin puree. Pour into cups, then place cups on cookie sheets and freeze. Let thaw about 10 minutes before removing from cup and treating your dog.
- Frosty Paws: Mix together 1 quart plain or vanilla yogurt, 1 banana or 1 large jar banana baby food, 2 Tbsp peanut butter and 2 Tbsp honey. Pour into cups, then place cups on cookie sheets and freeze. Let thaw about 10 minutes before removing from cup. DO NOT USE LIGHT PEANUT BUTTER or anything with Xylitol (highly toxic to dogs) or other artificial sweeteners.
- Moderation is key! Especially if your dog is overweight, limit the number of treats you feed. Remember that peanut butter has a high fat content.
- Remember to check the ingredients! Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs. Avoid artificial sweeteners, grapes, raisins, chocolate and other toxic/dangerous foods.
Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.