Summer’s coming and almost everyone is preparing for it with the fashionable hats, some suntan, loose clothing, air conditioning and maybe a trip to Hawaii to get our tanning game on. While summer is great news for humans, pet parents cannot afford to get too excited because as much as summer is fun for us, it just isn’t for pets.
They can easily overheat, suffer heat stroke, and, as with many pets, possibly even die. However, this scary scenario is easily avoidable if pet owners can learn a few things about keeping their pets cool during the summer. Remember, you can easily take care of yourself but if you do not give your pet a hand, we know whose fault it’s going to be when anything awful happens. So just before you set out to enjoy the summer, ensure that you do the responsible thing by your pet and make sure they are cool enough to face the heat because summer’s coming!
Here are some ways you can keep your furry friends cool this summer:
- Provide shade or keep them inside: When it gets hot, you can easily decide “I’ve had enough of this” and then walk into the house and turn on the air conditioner. Your pet, on the other hand, can’t easily decide that on his/her own so what you want to do is to watch out for them and bring them in when it begins to get too hot. (Rule of thumb, if it’s too hot for you outside, it’s probably too hot for them too). Other ways you can keep them cool is to ensure that there are shady, sheltered spots outside that they can easily get to rest in when they begin to get hot and bothered
- Provide shade for caged pets: If you have a pet that has to be caged (rabbits, or birds, for instance), then find spots that are shady to keep them in if they can’t be kept inside the house. Make sure you also check up on them throughout the day to ensure that the sun hasn’t shifted position and is now shining directly on them
- Give them water: Make sure you leave your pets a generous supply of water in and around the house. Drop different bowls with clean water at different spots so your pets can easily find them whenever they get thirsty. To keep the water from “boiling” due to the heat, you can even add a few ice cubes too so they retain their cool
- Do not leave pet food in the heat: Ensure that your pet’s food does not stay in the heat. If s/he does not finish it in one sitting, then wrap the rest up and store in the refrigerator. Later in the day, you can try to feed them once again. Once in a while, you could even throw in a “cool” treat by freezing some meat or a fruit and giving it to them. This should only be done once in a while though and should not become a habit
- Do not leave your pet in an enclosed space: Whether it’s a garage, shed or whatever, do not leave your pet in an enclosed space. If you’ve ever been in an enclosed space before for a long time you know that oxygen levels deplete gradually and the place can get hot pretty quickly too. If that happens to your pet, it could be the beginning of trouble for both of you
- Never leave your pet in the car: You just don’t do that, not even if you leave the windows open. Do not! Cars can get very hot very quickly. A pet must never be left alone in one
- Keep walks and exercising for the cool of the day: Your dog sure needs to get some exercise, like a good walk, and the summer season doesn’t change that. However, wisdom demands that you keep the walk for hours in the day when the temperature is significantly cooler. The best times to walk your dog during the summer are either early in the morning before the sun reaches its full strength, or later in the evening as the sun begins to set. It’s even good for you too; UV rays never helped anyone. While taking your walk, also remember to take along some water for you and your dog, either of you could get thirsty (rule of thumb: if you get thirsty during your walk, there’s a huge likelihood that your pet is thirsty as well)
- Keep your dog from walking on hot places: Surfaces such as roads, pavers, or concrete tend to get pretty hot after long exposure to the sun. If you allow your dog’s sensitive paws to continuously walk on them, they could get burned. So, try to avoid such paths; a grassy route might be more preferable. To further help, you could even apply some sunscreen on your pet’s paws to help prevent a burn when they walk on hot surfaces
- Be observant: If your pet begins to sweat, drool, hang its tongue or pant excessively, then your pet really needs to rest in a shade. Find a cool spot and get them to rest immediately and then encourage them to take some water even if it means you pouring it into their throats for them
- If it gets worse: If after doing the above, your dog doesn’t seem to be getting any better and is, instead, still showing symptoms of overheating, do not spray with a hose. Pets do not like that. Moreover, the shock of being shot with a garden hose is best described as a rude one. Instead of doing that, run a bath for them, filling the tub with water that would reach their tummies when standing in it. It’s more soothing and is even more effective than shooting with a water hose
- Call your Vet: If your pet still isn’t getting any better, then it is time to call on your vet to help
Just like humans, excessive heat can get a pet irritated and aside from the health risks hyperthermia poses to pets, it also ruins the fun and bond between you two. But with these simple tips at the back of your mind now, you can look forward to another exciting summer where the happiness between you and your pet never ends because you know that your furry friend will be fully protected from the heat waves!