Everyone knows that summer means fun in the sun! Popsicles, pool days and running through the sprinkler. We also know that the summer heat can cause us some problems. Heat exhaustion, fatigue, sunburn - you name it.
One thing you might have overlooked is how summertime can affect our furry friends. Some dogs are made for the heat while other breeds struggle to stay cool in the summer. For example, most retriever breeds are fond of the water and can keep cool on a hot summer day. While breeds like pugs and other flat-faced dogs, struggle in the heat as they are unable to pant as effectively as some breeds.1
Just like dogs use panting to regulate their body temperature, our feline friends sweat through their paws, so it’s important to protect them from the scorching heat of the pavement.2
Here are some things you should know to keep your pets safe and cool this summer.
Keeping them safe and cool
- Be sure that your pet has access to LOTS of water. Keep a bowl in the shade for them while they play outside and refresh it regularly. You should also be sure that their inside bowls stay cool, clean and full throughout the day. By keeping your pet’s water in a
safe, hideaway drawer, you can keep their water bowls from getting kicked over while you’re away.
- Allow your pet to be in the air conditioning as often as possible. Leaving your pets outside in the hot sun can be hard on their bodies. While it is important that they have ample time to run and play outside, they should also have access to the cool, inside air during the summer months.
- If your pets can’t be inside for much of the day, at least be sure that they have a shady, covered spot to rest in your yard. Just as they need shelter from rain and cold, it’s important that they can find refuge from the sun as well.
- Be sure to pay close attention when grooming your pets during the summer. Always check for ticks and other critters and cuts while bathing and grooming your pets, especially around the collar area.3 A built-in grooming station makes the often difficult task of wrangling your pets in the tub a little easier!
- Provide a box fan near your cat’s favorite lounging spot. This can be used to keep them cool during the day!
- Partially fill an empty soda or water bottle with water and place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap the bottle in a towel and put it in your pet’s bed to keep them cool while they lounge. The built-in pet cubby feature for your Clayton Built® home can provide a cool, secluded area to keep your pet’s bed.
What to avoid
- Never keep your pets in a vehicle that isn’t running. Take your pet pals for a drive, but be sure to keep the air circulating. Cracking a window is not effective in protecting them from overheating. So, if you’re going to take your pet with you, make sure that the place you’re going is pet friendly. If not, leave them at home in the cool A.C.
- Avoid leaving your pets outside unsupervised at night. Depending on your location, in the summer there can be lots of critters out and about that aren’t necessarily friendly. Your pet could become the target of unwanted visitors like coyotes or mountain lions.
- You should also avoid walking your pets during the heat of the day. With temperatures in the 90 to 100-degree range, pavement can reach 120-140 degrees, which can cause severe and permanent damage to your pup’s paws. To ensure that it’s safe for your pet to walk on the pavement, place your hand palm down (so you don’t burn the sensitive part of your skin!) on the concrete. If you can’t leave your hand there for a full five to ten seconds, it is far too hot for your pet to walk on!4
- Just like humans, over-exertion is dangerous for pets as well. Running, jogging, fetching, or even a normal walk can be difficult on pets during the hottest parts of the day. Try getting out in the early morning or late evening hours to ensure your pet is getting enough exercise without the risk of overheating.
Know the signs
Be sure to keep an eye out for symptoms like heavy, excessive panting, excessive drooling, weakness, clumsiness, diarrhea and/or vomiting, as these can all be signs of heat-related illnesses and injuries in pets.
If your pet experiences one or more of these symptoms, we suggest taking them to a veterinarian for a check-up. As always, remember that your pup is a part of your family, and following these steps will help you both to have a safe, stress-free, Pupsicle filled summer!
1”Hot Weather Safety Tips.” ASPCA. 2017. Accessed May 21, 2018. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips
2 Young, Justin. “Help Your Pet Beat the Heat.” PetSafe Blog. 2017. Accessed May 26, 2018. https://www.petsafe.net/learn/help-your-pet-beat-the-heat
3McKenna, Roslyn. “DIY Dog Grooming Basics.” PetSafe Blog. Accessed May 26, 2018. https://www.petsafe.net/learn/diy-dog-grooming-basics
4Rae, Jason. “Safe Dog Walking Temperatures During Summertime.” Inside Out Dog Training. June 27, 2017. Accessed May 26, 2018. https://insideoutdogtraining.com/safe-dog-walking-temperatures-summer-time/