With temperatures reaching the high 30s during summer, it’s really important to know how to keep pets cool. Failing to do so could lead to seizures, a coma and even death — dogs overheat quite easily, so reading these tips on how to keep pets cool in summer could be lifesaving!
1. Take them to the parlour
Getting your dog shaved for the summer is breed dependant. Shaving long-haired breeds will help to keep them cool, but leave at least a 3cm layer of fur. This will protect your dog from sunburn.
Double coated breeds, like Labradors, German Shepherds, Huskies and Pomeranians, don’t necessarily need to be shaved, because they moult in the summer. It is important though to brush them regularly to get rid of excess (warm) hair.
It’s not advisable to cut your dog’s hair yourself, as you could cut it too short (and who knows what else could go wrong!). Rather take your pooch to the parlour.
If your cat has long fur, then consider getting a lion cut. Groomers leave the fur around the face and neck (like a lion’s mane) and either leave a tuft of fur at the end of their tail or shave all of the fur off. You’ll see a definite change in your cat’s behaviour as they’ll be much cooler — plus they’ll look hilarious and it’ll be impossible not to chuckle every time you see them.
2. Ice, ice baby
Make a meat popsicle or freeze your pet’s favourite toy in a bowl of water. This will encourage your pet to stay hydrated and help keep them cool at the same time.
Most pets regulate their temperature through their feet. If you think your dog is overheating, wet their paws with ice water and place a cold wet towel underneath them to make sure your pet stays cool.
3. Exercise your dog early in the morning or evening
Avoid taking your dog out for a walk in the heat of the day. Most dogs love going for walks and often don’t show signs of fatigue, so it’s possible for them to overheat quite suddenly.
In summer, it’s a good idea to walk your dog on the grass and not on tar or cement, as this can become very hot and burn their paws.
If it’s your regular dog-walking time but it’s so hot that you can’t take your dog for a walk, Dog Whisperer Caesar Milan suggests allowing your dog to quickly go outside to test the weather. This can help your dog realise why he isn’t going for a walk.
4. Bring your pets inside or ensure a shady spot outside
If you bring your pet inside, make sure that the house is cool. Dogs and cats will automatically find the coolest spots.
If you need to leave your dog outside, make sure that they have plenty of fresh water (add ice cubes to cool it down) and a shady spot to rest.
Never leave your pet in the garage or under a tin roof as it will become extremely hot.
5. Look out for signs of over-heating
Dogs pant to cool down as they can’t sweat. Look out for the following warning signs that will teach how to recognise overheating in your pet:
- Excessive drooling
- Blood shot eyes
- Seems very tired or weak
It’s important to note that certain short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs, can’t pant properly and are more prone to dehydration, so you need to be extra vigilant with these dogs.