A combination of high temperatures and humidity makes for a dangerous recipe when pets are outside. Here are 6 easy tips to help your pets stay cool in the heat.
As I write this post, it is 112 degrees outside. Add in 30 percent humidity and it feels like a convection oven! Every year around this time, I question our sanity for living in the desert. At the end of each day, I always think, “whew, we are one day closer to fall!”
Buck, our five year-old golden retriever, and I walk three miles a day six days a week, nine months of the year. He is so much fun that our hikes do not seem like exercise at all. During the hot desert summer months (June through August), I have to be flexible with our exercising schedule. We walk in the early mornings before the sun comes up and we walk a shorter distance. Even walking this early, we still have days that are just too hot and humid for any exercising outside. If we are able to walk four days a month during July and August, it is truly a blessing!
Regardless of what part of the country you live in, summer is hot and it is important to keep pets safe in the heat. Here in the southwest, we do not walk on asphalt when the sun is high (it gets so hot it is squishy when you walk on it). We also avoid cement, dirt and gravel. We only exercise early morning or late night. We carry water with us every where.
Heat and humidity is as dangerous for our pets as it is for us. Dogs and cats do not know their limitations in the heat and some dogs will literally run themselves to death! It is important as pet owners to know your pet so you can recognize changes in them to avoid the onset of heat stroke or hyperthermia.
6 Tips to Help Pets Stay Cool in The Heat
- Limit exercise: When temperatures are soaring into triple digits, three miles is just too far to walk Buck even during the coolest part of the day. Maggie, our pit bull, tolerated the heat better than most, but all dogs are different. Buck does not tolerate the extreme heat and humidity very well. Watch your dog closely and look for early signs of overheating like excessive or rapid panting and thick drool.
- Never leave a pet in the car: even with the windows down, on a hot day temperatures can soar in a car in no time. If it is a 100 degrees outside, the inside of your car can reach 120 degrees within 15 minutes. The dashboard gets even hotter than that.
- Protection from heat and sun: give pets plenty of shade (trees or a canopy or tarp covered area). If they are in a dog run, using misters may help.
- Keep inside on hot humid days: make sure the house is cool. Fans blowing on dogs are not effective. They cool off by panting and by “sweating” through the pads of their paws. An air-conditioned garage or kennel in the house works very well if they are left unattended.
- Keep hydrated: make sure they have plenty of cool fresh water. Buck always gets an “ice-cube” or two when he comes in from outside.
- Pool time: a kiddie pool or sprinkler is a great way for dogs to cool off. Do not leave dogs unattended in pools as not all dogs are good swimmers.