What’s the Best Method for Keeping Your Pet Cool and Hydrated During Heatwaves?

As we turn the corner into yet another sweltering summer, you’re probably already thinking about how to keep yourselves cool. But what about your furry friends? Dogs, in particular, can struggle in the heat. Unlike humans, they can’t sweat through their skin and so they rely on panting and releasing heat through their paw pads and nose to regulate their body temperature. Hence, it becomes crucial to help them cool off during those hot summer days. This article aims to equip you with the best methods to keep your pet cool and hydrated during heatwaves.

Recognize the signs of heatstroke in your pet

Before we dive into what you can do to keep your pet cool, it’s crucial to understand the signs of heatstroke. Heatstroke is a severe condition that can be fatal for dogs. It usually occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises too high (above 103°F or 39°C) and they can’t cool down. Symptoms can include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, and even collapsing.

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Knowing the signs of heatstroke can help you respond quickly and appropriately. If you see these symptoms in your pet, move them to a cool place, offer them water (but don’t force them to drink), and contact your vet right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health.

Keep your pet hydrated

Water is the elixir of life – and this becomes especially true during hot summer days. Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Some dogs might be more reluctant to drink, so you might need to encourage them by adding a splash of chicken broth to their water or by using a pet drinking fountain which can make drinking more appealing.

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Remember that heavier dogs and those with thick coats will need more water, as will puppies and older dogs. It’s not enough to simply refill your dog’s water bowl, make sure it’s in a shady spot. Also, when you’re out and about, bring a collapsible water dish or a special doggy water bottle.

Cool your pet down with water activities

Another great way to keep your pet cool during the summer months is by letting them play in water. This could be as simple as setting up a kiddie pool in your backyard or as exciting as going for a swim in a dog-friendly beach or lake.

Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so make sure to supervise them at all times. If your dog isn’t much of a swimmer, consider investing in a doggy life jacket. This can help them stay afloat and keep cool at the same time. A wet towel for your pet to lie on can also work wonders. If your dog is averse to water, try a cooling mat instead.

Protect your pet from hot surfaces

As humans, we have the luxury of shoes to protect our feet from hot surfaces. Dogs, however, rely on their paw pads, which can easily burn on hot pavements or sand. An easy rule to remember is: if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

Try to walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or late evening) and stick to grassy surfaces if possible. If you do need to walk on hot surfaces, consider using doggy booties or paw wax to protect their paws.

Never leave your pet in a hot car

Finally, never leave your dog in a hot car. The temperature inside a car can skyrocket quickly, even with the windows cracked. Leaving a pet inside a hot car, even for just a few minutes, can lead to fatal heatstroke.

If you see a pet left in a hot car, try to find their owner or call local animal control or the police. Many states have laws against leaving pets in hot cars, and you could be saving a life.

Remember, summer should be a fun and enjoyable time for everyone – pets included. By following these tips, you can ensure your pet stays cool and healthy all summer long.

Employ Cool Treats and Toys

When the heat is on, you can consider providing your pet with some icy treats or toys that can keep them cool and hydrated. Frozen treats can be a delightful surprise for your dog on hot days and also serve as a means of hydration. You can freeze treats like dog-friendly fruits, peanut butter, or even their favorite dog food in ice cube trays or a Kong toy for a refreshing snack.

Ice packs or cooling toys, can also be useful. Your pet can play with them or lie on them to cool off. Cooling toys are specially designed to be frozen and provide relief from the heat. However, supervision is necessary when giving your pet these toys to prevent accidental ingestion of the toy or the ice.

Remember, these are not substitutes for fresh, clean water. They are an addition to the water and shade you should already be providing. Monitor your pet to ensure they are not showing any signs of heatstroke or dehydration despite these measures.

Consider Grooming and Clothing

Another way to help your pet keep cool during heatwaves is by considering their grooming needs and clothing. Dogs with longer or thicker hair traps heat, causing them to feel hotter than those with short, thin hair. Regular grooming by trimming your dog’s hair can help them feel cooler. However, don’t shave it off completely as a dog’s coat also protects them from sunburn.

If your dog has a light-colored coat or thin hair, they might be prone to sunburn. You can protect them by providing shade, applying pet-safe sunblock, or dressing them in sun-protective clothing.

There are also cooling vests and bandanas available in the market. These products are designed to be soaked in water and worn by your pet, providing cooling relief for several hours as the water evaporates.

Heatwaves can be a challenging time for our furry friends. However, with a little planning and precaution, we can ensure our pets stay cool, hydrated, and happy during the summer months. Keep a close eye on them for signs of heatstroke, never leave them in a hot car, and always have fresh water available.

Remember, every pet is unique. What works for one may not work for another. Some pets might require more water than others, just as some pets might enjoy water activities more than others. Keep your pet’s needs and preferences in mind as you follow these tips and help them beat the heat.

Ultimately, summer should be a time of fun and relaxation for both pets and their owners. By taking proper precautions and preparing adequately, we can ensure our pets enjoy the season as much as we do. And if there’s any doubt or concern about your pet’s health during a heatwave, never hesitate to consult your vet. After all, the health and well-being of our pets is always worth it.

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