As temperatures rise, we all love to stay cool – and that includes our furry friends, too! It’s important to know how to keep your pets comfortable, cool and safe on a hot summer’s day while minimizing your energy costs.
With these easy tips, you can look after your pet and your energy usage even when temperatures are high:
1. Use a programmable thermostat
Programmable thermostats offer several benefits, including cost savings, convenience and comfort. You can also put it on a schedule and not worry about manually adjusting it multiple times a day. Don’t be afraid to set your thermostat a little higher in the summer while you’re away from home. Dogs and cats have higher body temperature than humans, and can tolerate 78-80 degrees without discomfort (depending on the breed). Pets also have ways of dealing with warm temperatures that humans don’t, like panting.
2. Provide plenty of fresh drinking water
Like humans, pets use water to keep cool. Make sure to always have plenty of fresh, cold water available for your pet – especially if you’re spending time outside on a walk, playing in the yard, or hitting the beach.
Tip: Before you go on a walk or leave for the day you can fill and freeze a dog bowl with a quarter of water. Once the bowl is frozen you can fill the rest with water. This will make the water on top nice and cool while the ice slowly melts.
3. Shut off fans
Yes, you read that right! Don’t rely on fans to cool off your pets. They respond differently to heat than humans do, and their fur can actually prevent them from feeling the cooling effects of a fan’s breeze. Running the fan when you aren’t home won’t change the temperature of your home or your pet, and it unnecessarily adds to your electric bill.
4. Lower their body temperature with cool tools
To lower your pet’s body temperature, especially outside in extreme heat, try a wet towel! Drench a towel in cool water and either drape the towel over your pet or have them lie down on it. This even works for dogs who have longer coats. And don’t forget the power of shade. If there isn’t natural shade available, create shade by using umbrellas or stringing up a tarp or cloth. Create more “shade” inside with blackout curtains or blinds.
5. Avoid the midday heat
Spend time outside with your dogs in the early morning or late afternoon and evening. Typically, temperatures are cooler during this time and it will help you avoid midday heat when asphalt can be extremely hot in direct sun. This will protect their paws and also protect you from the raised temperatures radiating off the concrete.
6. Never leave your pet in a parked car
Even on cooler summer days, temperatures inside a parked car can rise dangerously high. If your pet is in a car alone parked in direct sunlight, it can lead to heat stroke. An outside temperature of 70°F and upwards can create very dangerous conditions for a dog in a car within minutes. Take your doggo inside with you, or leave them home during the summer.
7. Give them an icy treat
Keep your dog cool by whipping up a batch of quick and easy DIY pupsicles. They will enjoy the snack while also staying cool. Win win!
8. Play in water
A wet dog is a cool dog. Going for a swim or playing in some water can help lower your dog’s body temperature. But it might not take as much as you think! They only need to be in enough water to get their paws and belly wet to make a difference.
9. Watch for signs of heat stroke
Extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke and be life threatening to pets. Signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salvation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
If you suspect your pet may be suffering from heat stroke, move them into the shade or air conditioning and apply ice packs or cold, wet towels to their head, neck and chest. Let them drink small amounts of water and take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.