How to keep your pets cool during the summer

By on July 6, 2013

News flash- it gets really hot in the summertime. We know how to keep ourselves cool and we know the importance of hydration, cooling down, and wearing proper clothing, but some of us may forget about our pets. We’ve done a little digging and have come up with a ton of tips on how to keep your pets happy, healthy, and cool during the summer months.

Not all of us let our kitties roam the outdoors, but if you do, you’ll want to keep some of the following tips in mind. Even if your cat is strictly an indoor cat, the heat can affect your kitty, too. Wikihow provides these 10 tips on how to keep you kitty cool, inside and outdoors:

  • Keep your cat calm- a wound up, too active kitty can overheat. Make sure to keep your cat comfy and calm to avoid getting sick from too much heat.
  • Create a snug retreat for your cat- it is important to have a place where your kitty can go to cool down and relax. The site suggests putting a cardboard box somewhere cool in your home so when temps start to rise, your cat has refuge.
  • If your cat goes outside, make sure there’s water available and shade. Just like you would for yourself, make sure there’s “cooler” spots outside for safety.
  • Allow your cat to choose its “cool spot”- You may discover that your cat suddenly loves to occupy the bathtub or sink during the summer months. This is probably because the surfaces are cooler. If kitty wants to be in the tub, let kitty be in the tub. Comfort is all important during the hotter months of the year. A happy cat makes a happy owner, too.
  • Use cold, damp towels for rub downs- Typically, cats don’t like water, but the occasional massage using a cold, damp towel can help cool down your cat’s coat and body temperature. They may not like it at first, but make sure to use this technique to keep kitty cool.
  • Like dogs, cats need brushing to expel their extra coat during the summer- Make a habit of brushing your cat daily to get rid of extra fur. Not only with this help with controlling shedding, it will keep your cat’s coat the right thickness and length. You get a summer haircut often, don’t you? Why not keep your cat’s hair properly during the summertime, too?
  • Use conventional cooling methods to help your cat- When it gets warm in your home, you turn on the air conditioner and fans. Cats appreciate these things too, you know. One thing to remember, and this is tough for some folks, is to keep those things running when you are away. Often, people turn the air down or fans off when they aren’t home. Cats who stay home will want these cooling devices running so they can stay comfy and cool all day long.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate- You know the drill…when it gets hot, you need more water. It is important that you leave kitty ample supplies of water during the summer, too. You may not see them drinking often, but when they need it, you’ll want that H2O around to quench your cat’s thirst.
  • Cool play- An interesting idea from the site is the idea of “cool play.” This is the act of playing with your cat in a way that will actually help cool them down. One game the site promotes is playing with ice cubes. On your kitchen floor, toss an ice cube or two around with your kitty. The cold water will feel good on kitty’s feet and nose. It seems a little out of the ordinary, but anything to keep your cat happy and cool, right?
  • Lastly, avoid heatstroke conditions- Your A/C bill is growing. You don’t have fans. The house just can’t get cool enough. These are common summertime problems, but your health (and your cat’s) is the most important thing. Don’t leave kitty outside too long, make sure to follow the above tips, and do whatever it takes for your cat to stay comfy this summer. Heatstroke can be deadly, so pay attention to your cat’s needs and keep them safe.

Tips for dogs are similar, but this site provides some not mentioned above. It also reinforces other typical, common sense ideas. Tips include:

  • Plenty of fresh, cool water- Dogs need a bit more water than cats (usually), so make sure to have plenty of cool, fresh water for your pooch. Dogs are often more active, heavier, and outside more often than cats, so have that water ready at all times.
  • Shelter from the sun- Your dog may want to be outside during the summer and they all need to “go” out more regularly than our cats, so make sure you have some shady spots for your dog when it is in the summer sun.
  • Cool in the pool- Often, people will use baby pools as a means to cool their dogs off during the summer. Baby pools are relatively inexpensive, and can be a great refuge for your hot dog in the summer. Using a garden hose, fill up your pool with cool groundwater and let your dog splash away. We all like a cool dip in the pool during the hot weather, so why wouldn’t your dog love it, too?
  • Consider cooling beds- Soft, fluffy dog beds are a great way to pamper your pooch, but these cotton beds can get awfully hot. The site suggests that you look into “cooling beds” for your dogs during the summer. These beds are made of gel-like materials that stay cool and still provide a comfortable place to nap for your dog. Check them out online or check your local pet store.

If it is summer, it is going to be warm- we can’t help that. What we can do, however, is provide means for our pets to stay cool and comfy during the hottest months of the year. Follow the above tips, but definitely don’t neglect these universal tips:

  • plenty of fresh, cool water
  • places for pets to go when they start to get overheated
  • maintain their coats and brush as needed
  • allow them to play, but watch carefully and let them recover before too much play turns into heatstroke

Stay cool and keep your pets happy all summer long!

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