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Keeping Pets Cool in the Heat

Posted by: Mira Roberts
Dog named Duke

As summer begins to warm up, you may find yourself wanting to spend more time outside with your loved ones, exercising, grilling and just enjoying the outdoors. While spending more time outside is good for everyone in your family, it's important to be cautious of the heat's impact on your furry family members.

Your pets' fur coats are comfortable and beneficial in the cold, winter months, but in summer, they pack in the warmth and make it easier for your pet to overheat and experience heat exhaustion. Remember, unlike you, your pet can't sweat to cool his body temperature down (dogs sweat minimially through their feet). Instead, dogs will pant to cool down, and even then, it's a less efficient process, altogether.

The good news is, you don't have to surrender your outdoor summer plans to keep your best friend safe and healthy. If you stay aware and follow some basic tips for keeping your pet cool and comfortable, you can both enjoy a bright, hot season outside.

  1. Hydration. Make sure to keep fresh, cool water around for your pet at all times on hot days. Change your dog's water bowl frequently and keep the bowl out of the sun to prevent it from getting warm. Remember that your dog cannot cool down by sweating like humans do, so keeping cool fluids running through his body will go a long way to helping him stay healthy.
  2. Shade. While it may be tempting to run your dog in the sun, remember that your dog will be better served by getting into the shade as quickly as possible. If you do plan to spend time outdoors with your pet, ensure that they have a cool, shady place to rest with lots of cool water. On particularly hot days, shade won't be enough, and in that case, you'll need to simply bring your pet indoors.
  3. Limit Exercise. Even though you may be feeling a burst of energy with the change in temperature, your dog probably isn't. When the heat turns up, let your pet cool down by limiting their time running, chasing and fetching outdoors. If you do need to give your best buddy some exercise, take them out first thing in the morning or in the evening, when the temperature is at its coolest.
  4. Dog Popsicles. Whether you prefer to make your own dog treats, or buy them at the store, you can help your dog to stay refreshed with yummy, healthy dog ice cream. You can likely get your hands on dog ice cream treats at the grocery store, but if you want to make them yourself, we know of some delicious recipes.
  5. Cooling Gear. Technology is your friend, and now, it's your pet's friend. Over the last several years, many companies have developed cooling gear to help dogs beat the heat and avoid health issues. Cooling beds, vests and collars are easy to find at your local pet store, veterinarian or even online, and will help your pet to cool down on hot days.

When in doubt, keep your pet indoors as often as possible on hotter days. If your pet has excessive fur, it may be worth visiting your vet and asking about a summer haircut or special tips for your specific breed.



About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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