37 Ways to Keep Pets Comfortable in the Summer Heat
Tips, Tricks, and Common sense Tactics to help your pets.
As I write this post, my area is having a wicked heatwave and today it is in the 90's with a "feel like" temperature of 100 or more.
People and pets can have problems with temps like this. People are easy - they just stroll to the fridge and get a cold drink, take off a sweater, step into air-conditioning, jump in the pool or take a cool shower.
Pets have to rely on us to help them stay cool, although I have seen many a dog purposefully get up and move under a shady tree. For the most part, they need us to make it through hot and steamy days.
Here are some tips to refresh everyone's memories on how to assist pets (more than just dogs) on these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer:
Make dog walks shorter and for "business" only.
Walk dogs on grass instead of concrete so paws don't get hot and burnt.
Keep pets in air conditioning or in a place with pet-safe fans where they can move in and out of the breeze to their liking.
If you open windows make sure the screens are secure so pets don't fall out and injure themselves, or worse.
Refill water bowls every hour or so with cold water.
Add one or two more water bowls around the house - especially if you will be out.
If on a dog walk it is an absolute must to bring a dog water bottle with you and offer it frequently, monitoring the dog's condition and stopping when necessary or ending the walk altogether.
Take off the collar in the house so the dog's neck can be cooler.
Close blinds/curtains at home to keep the pet out of the direct sun - except some cats like sunny spots, so perhaps open some and close some so they can choose.
Offer dogs some dog ice cream (Note: Some dogs have tummy issues with dog ice cream so be vigilant when first introducing dog to this treat.)
Freeze a good-sized Tupperware container of water and if a dog is on a nice rug in the kitchen, or sitting out with you in the yard or deck, they will enjoy licking it for a long time and because it is large they won't choke on a smaller piece of ice.
Get a small kiddie pool for your dog and see if they'd like a swim. Alternatively, if you are near a lake or ocean or brook, let them splash around - supervised and safe of course!
If going on a boat with your dog or cat, make sure they are protected from the sun and not sitting on a hot plastic or wood floor or seat. Life jacket too, please!
Take a ride in an air-conditioned car.
Go to the park with a blanket and hang out in the shade with your dog. Bring water for both of you and a nice chew toy for Fido to enjoy. Take a dog brush and brush out the extra fur, let the results float away in the breeze so the birds can take it for nest making.
Turn on a sprinkler and let the dogs enjoy the water with the kids!
Reduce high-energy activities - like don't jog with your dog or take long hot hikes on sweltering days.
NEVER leave your dog left in a parked car. NEVER. EVER. EVER. And if you see someone doing so, or come across a dog in a parked car, call the police.
Keep your vets number handy in your phone so you can call the vet if you see any heat-related problems manifesting.
Freeze peanut butter in a Kong toy and take it out on hot days for your dog's chewy pleasure.
NEVER leave dogs tied outside alone. Let them be in the yard with you, but do not leave them tied outside on a hot day. If they have an outdoor kennel space - make sure they can retreat to a shady spot with plenty of water. Check frequently. Preferably, keep them in AC in the house on the super hot summer days.
Tell your pet sitter these tips because not all pet sitters "get it" - sad but true.
Don't let uninformed teens take the dog on a walk or car ride without knowing these tips - it would be terrible if they learned about heat problems with dogs and the result is an injured or dead dog.
Give the dog a nice cool bath in the tub!
When a surprise rain shower pops up on a hot day - get out for a walk with the dog and splash in puddles and get wet!
Although parrots are tropical, it isn't good to leave them baking in a sunny cage without the option of walking into the shade so cover half the cage to block out the sun and better yet, move the cage to a more temperant location in the house.
Refill bird's water too with room temperature water. NO ice.
Give air circulation for birds but not a direct fan or air conditioning. You don't want them to get chilled.
Offer birds a splash in the shower or a tabletop bath. Birds are great bathers!
Offer birds fresh fruit on hot days to increase their liquid intake.
Make sure birds are not out of the cage (if you let them go in and out of their cage) when a door or window is open so they don't fly away.
Monitor cats in extreme heat. Many cats love the warmth, but older cats may have more difficulty.
Give extra monitoring in hot weather to any pet that is elderly or under medication.
Make sure rabbits in outside hutches have plenty of shade and a breeze and fresh water. Monitor them closely to see if you need to move them indoors.
If you are away on these hot days - schedule an extra pet sitting visit, ESPECIALLY if you do not have AC in your house - or give the pet sitter the option to decide on their own if the pet needs an extra visit or not. Better safe than sorry.
Cats that are left home in a house w/o air conditioning can have the basement door left/propped open so they can run downstairs where it is cooler during the day.
Also, on steamy days, take care of the wild birds too with extra bird baths placed outside.
Well, that is my list. I hope it is helpful to you! If I've missed one, send me an e-mail and let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.