Keep Your Pet Cool this Summer

Summertime is here and along with backyard barbecues, your pet’s summer days are probably filled with yard games, hikes and lounging at the pool. What a life. But the heat, sun, chlorinated water and overexertion can take a toll on your pet and you need to monitor their activity and make sure they stay cool and hydrated.

Tips for keeping your pet cool

  1. Cooling mats: These are a great invention – it’s like personal air conditioning for your pet. These are particularly great for dogs from northern regions with long coats (think Newfoundland). While they love lying around in the snow, the sunshine can literally be a killer for them. A cooling mat will help keep their temperature down and they will be able to enjoy the summer backyard activities with you without overheating.

  2. Water: No summer party is complete without water to keep everyone cool, including your pets. Be it a pool, a sprinkler or a water slide, all of these water activities are great to keep your pet’s temperature regulated. Be sure and rinse them down after being in chlorinated or salt-water pools as the chemicals can be rough on their skin.

  3. Even more important than a pool is drinking water. Your pet, with their fur coat and higher body temperature can overheat pretty quickly. The easiest way to cool down is with a nice drink of fresh, cool water, so be sure they always have access and refill their dish throughout the day even if it is full.

  4. You can trim the hair of long-haired dogs to help them feel cooler and lighter in the summer, but have it done by a professional and never shave them down completely. Most long-haired dogs have a protective undercoating that guards them from the sun and helps regulate their body temperature. Shaving their coat removes that protection and can leave them overexposed.

  5. Pets that are brachycephalic are particularly susceptible to high humidity and heat. Pets such as the Pug, Pekingese or Persian cat have flat faces which limits their ability to pant effectively which is how dogs and cats cool themselves (they don’t have sweat glands). These types of pets can therefore easily overheat much more quickly and are more susceptible to heat stroke. Keep these pets indoors in the air-conditioning on the warmest days. Same goes for your senior pets or animals with heart or lung conditions.

  6. Shade, sunscreen and dog doors. These three simple things can help protect your pet from too much sunshine. Make sure they have access to a well-shaded spot in the yard that they can easily access to get out of the sun. Apply sunscreen to their nose, ears and bellies to protect against sunburn and give them easy access to the house and air-conditioning so they don’t overheat.

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