Tips for keeping pets cool and comfortable during hot summer months

Everyone loves summertime. (Or at least almost everyone. The jury’s still out on some stay-at-home parents. It may be more of a love-hate relationship. Wink.) Even our cuddly best friends (of the animal variety) love summertime. And who wouldn’t? But did you know that we could be putting our pets in danger if we aren’t taking the necessary precautions? Because just like humans, pets can also experience heat exhaustion.

Did you know?

According to www.petmd.com, there are two major reasons pets get overheated. Hyperthermia occurs when pets are trapped in an environment that overwhelms their senses (like a beach or a hot car.) Pets with compromised upper airways, or an acquired condition like paralysis of the larynx have more difficulty removing heat from their bodies by panting. So what can we do to keep them safe?

Here are a few tips and tricks for #keepingourfurryfriendscool.

  • Not unlike their humans, pets prefer laying on cool surfaces in the heat of the day. Save outdoor time with your pet for the cooler times — earlier in the morning or later in the evening — when you are less likely to be in direct sunlight.
  • Speaking of direct sunlight, keep your fur babies out of it! Especially during the hottest parts of the day. Or, make sure they have a cool, shady spot for getting out of the sun. And don’t forget that hot asphalt can burn their paws! Test it out: if it’s too hot for your bare feet, then it’s probably too hot for your pet. They can’t wear shoes like we can. (We actually tried buying some shoes from the pet store for our yellow lab. He hated them, and refused to wear them. So there you go.)
  • Out running errands? Just leave the dog at home. Leaving an animal (or a human child) in a hot car is NEVER a good idea. Common sense, people. The temperature in the car can climb to dangerous levels in just a matter of minutes. Keep ‘em home where they are happy and safe.
  • Pets can become dehydrated rather quickly — so make sure plenty of fresh, clean water is readily available. Panting is effective in allowing animals to cool down because it helps evaporate fluids from the respiratory tract. Help replace fluids and prevent dehydration by leaving water out for Fido on the daily. A cheap-o kiddie pool or a sprinkler system can also be a fun means for staying cool. The whole family may even want to get in on the action!
  • Be mindful of your breed and any conditions that may warrant more concern. The ASPCA advises that elderly, overweight, and pets with heart disease be kept in air-conditioned areas of your home (rather than the hot backyard) during the warmest summer months.
  • Many pet owners incorrectly assume that shaving their animals will help cool them down. However, the layers of your pet’s coat help to protect them from overheating and sunburn. A trim (for longer haired animals) is perfectly acceptable; brushing more often can help remove loose fur and prevent overheating.

Got any other helpful tips for keeping pets cool during the hot summer months? We’d love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments section below, and don't forget to tag us in yours (and your furry friend’s) photos using the hashtag #SFMsummerfun! Stay cool and safe out there! It’s going to be a HOT one!

About the author…After three blissful years in the Treasure State, Jessica recently moved back to Houston, Texas with her hunky husband and her three precious little girls, Savannah Leigh, Emma Kate, and Brooklyn Olivia. Jessica is a small business owner with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and a nerd-like love for political science. She is passionate about writing, marketing, social media management, and this wonderfully beautiful mess we call parenthood.