When the Heat is On

When the Heat is On

Nothing like a couple days in the triple digits to remind you how dangerous the heat can be – to both humans and animals!  These suggestions may be too late for the heat wave last week, but something tells me we will see more hot days ahead.  I was wondering with everyone working from home, most without air conditioning, and movie theatres closed, how people were handling the heat?  Now you know what it was like for your pet during the day when you were away at work!

There’s things you can do, of course, to reduce the heat in your home.  Closing windows and shutting all blinds and curtains to keep the sun out can make a huge difference.  If you have ceiling fans they can move enough air to make a cooling breeze which is nice.  You probably notice your pets congregating in the kitchen – it’s not that they are hungry but often that is the only room with non-carpeted floors.  Linoleum and vinyl is much cooler to lay on than carpeting for sure!  If your house gets very hot inside, you might consider freezing some water bottles and leaving them out for your pets to lay against.

Frozen water is absolutely essential for any caged pet that is outdoors (really bringing them inside is best!).  If you have an indoor caged pet bring the cage down to the floor level if it’s normally up on a dresser or such.  Hot air rises so the higher in the room the hotter it is.  A single frozen water bottle can cool the temperature in a cage considerably.  Too many rabbits and guinea pigs don’t make it through a heat wave because their options, in a cage, are limited.  We have to help them out!

Some people shave their pets during the summer to help them keep cool but be aware that the long-hair of some breeds actually protects the skin against sunburn and traps air close to the body to keep them cool.  Only shave a pet that lives indoors – outdoor pets need this protection.  Shaving the belly though can help them stay cooler without the sun risk.

Having plenty of water available to drink is very important and if you have multiple pets, be sure to have multiple water dishes.  Pets know when a resource is valuable and some might guard it from the other animals.  Have plenty of dishes around so everyone can get their fair share without worry.  Some cats will drink more out of the fountains and especially during heat waves you want to encourage water intake.  If you feed canned food you might mix an extra teaspoon or two of water in it to increase their water consumption.

Do I even need to say how dangerous it is to leave a pet in a car on a warm day?  The metal of the vehicle turns it into an oven and the temperature can get fatally hot in just a few minutes, even with the windows open a bit.  Be smart and leave your pets comfortably at home when you go out to run errands.  Everyone will be safer if check-out lines are longer than anticipated or you bump into a friend and get into a conversation.

And last but not least, only exercise your dog in the cool of the morning or after the sun has set.  You may not mind coming home from a run dripping with sweat but they can’t cool themselves the same as we can.  Heat stroke and exhaustion can kill so don’t test your dog’s limit by pushing him to run or walk during the heat of the day.

It’s finally feeling like summer around here – hot and dry.  Let’s help our pets weather through it by seeing to their needs!

 

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