Summer is a time for picnics, the beach, and bikinis. The sun shining super brightly means the heat is on, but keep in mind that when it is hot for you, it is even hotter for your four-legged friend. Dogs and cats do not sweat through their skin. They cool themselves by panting or rapid breathing, which means animals must work hard to stay cool.
Remember, too much heat can be dangerous or even fatal. If your best friend has a shorter nose, like Persian cats and bulldogs, he or she is more susceptible to heatstroke than breeds with longer noses.
The best plan to keep your dog and cat protected from the summer heat is to be kind and incorporate these options…
- Always make sure that your dog or cat has plenty of freshwater to drink. A bucket that holds a gallon or more of water will stay cool longer than water in a shallow pan. Some dogs consider ice cubes a treat, and you can add a few to the water bowl. Dogs and cats do sweat a little through the pads of their feet. The cats I know don’t appreciate water added to any part of their body, but dogs often enjoy having cool water on their feet. Some dogs enjoy walking through or even lying in a child’s wading pool.
- It is dangerous to leave your dog or cat in a car for 5 minutes. If he or she can’t go inside at every stop with you, they are safer at home on hot days! Car interiors heat very quickly in the hot sun, even with the windows open. If it is 85 degrees outside, it will climb to 102 degrees inside your car within ten minutes. In half an hour, it will reach 120 degrees or more! If it is 90 degrees out, temperatures can top 160 degrees faster than you can walk around the block.
Sun & Shade
- Animals who go outside need access to shade. Dark coats absorb heat. Lighter coated animals, especially white ones, are at higher risk for skin cancer from exposure to the sun and they are more susceptible to sunburn.
- Longer coated dogs and cats who are brushed regularly have natural insulation from the heat. However, if the coat has gotten matted, a summer clip will make your buddy much more comfortable and allow you a new start at keeping him brushed. Be a little careful because newly clipped animals can get sunburned.
- If your dog spends time in the yard, make sure she has access to shade. Shade trees, a covered patio, or a cool spot under the porch can help keep him or her comfortable. California law requires that a tethered dog must have access to water. The owner can be charged for animal cruelty if the dog becomes tangled and cannot get to water.