Dog Days of Summer: How to Keep Pets Cool on Hot Days

As summer heats up, pet owners are looking for ways to keep their dogs and cats comfortable. It's important to be proactive about helping your pets handle the season's hottest days so they can stay healthy, cool, and ready for summer fun. We've put together a few ways to keep dogs cool and cats comfortable; they just might help you beat the heat, too!

3 Tricks to Keeping Dogs Cool in Summer

Our 3 favorite ways to protect your cat or dog from overheating are focused on simple actions anyone can take to keep their pets comfortable.

1. Keep Them Hydrated

You love a cold drink of water on a hot day, and so does your pet! Keep your pet's water bowl topped up, and consider bringing a portable water bowl so you can give them water on the go. Generally, dogs need roughly a ½–1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. Some other factors that affect required water consumption include:

  • Body size. The bigger the dog, the more water they'll need!
  • Food. Dogs that eat dry food may require more water than those who eat wet food.
  • Exercise. More active dogs need more water.
  • Weather. As temperatures increase, so will your pet's water intake. Know your dog's limit and stay inside when temperatures are too extreme.
  • Medications. Some pet medications can have side effects that increase your pet's water needs. Always consult your veterinarian to learn how medications impact water intake.
  • Age. Puppies and older dogs may need more water than dogs in their prime years. Pay attention to your dog's habits to gauge their unique needs.

Hot tip: To avoid bloating from increased water intake, try giving your dog ice cubes first. Ice cubes will keep your dog from drinking too much too soon. This is especially useful after taking your pet for a long walk or vigorous exercise.

2. Reduce Activity Level 

You can keep your dog active without putting them at risk. Reduce the duration and intensity of your usual walk or exercise by 10–20% when temperatures get too hot. In addition to bringing enough water for yourself and your pup, consider staying close to home so you can quickly escape the heat if necessary.

You can also keep your pet safe and happy outdoors by using these ideas:

  • Take frequent breaks for water and snacks.
  • Find a park or place to exercise with plenty of shade available for resting.
  • Use breaks as a chance to work on obedience skills like sitting, staying, or shaking hands.

3. Escape from the Heat

With a cool place to relax, your pet will stay as comfortable as you are! Keep your home's air conditioning unit operating smoothly with regular maintenance, and don't turn the air off when you leave the house. Be sure to run the AC to keep your pet safe during the day.

You might also consider providing your cat or dog with a raised or elevated bed. Using a camp cot-style pet bed helps get them off the ground and allows a better exchange of body heat and cool air.

Watch for Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Always know the signs of heatstroke. Some of the most common symptoms of heatstroke in both dogs and cats are:

  • panting
  • lethargy
  • glazed eyes
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • excessive thirst
  • dizziness
  • odd behavior or confusion
  • seizures

Call an emergency veterinarian service immediately if you believe your pet is experiencing heatstroke.

How to Keep Cats Cool 

Keeping cats cool during hot weather shares many of the same practices recommended for dogs. Offer cats a cool place in the house to rest, and ensure they have plenty of water throughout the day. Just like dogs, watch for the signs of heatstroke listed above.

Why Do Humans Need to Keep Pets Safe in the Heat?

Pets can't tell us when they're too warm. As temperatures rise, pet owners need to remember that dogs and cats risk heatstroke. Heat-related illness is avoidable by taking many common sense heat precautions you take for yourself and your family. While statistically small, heatstroke is a concern; in 2021, 59 pets died in the US due to heat-related incidents.

Keep the Whole Family Comfortable This Summer with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning 

We know how important the health and safety of your family are to you. Reduce the risk of heat-related illness in pets by using these tricks along with old-fashioned common sense. We're here to help with emergency air conditioning repairs and intelligent ways to improve energy efficiency to keep your cooling bills in check. Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today.