Summertime temperatures are hitting record highs across BC, and we’re just getting started on the season. Meteorologists predict a scorcher ahead, and while you may have taken steps to beat the heat for the upright members of your households, your other companions require extra special attention. Household pets don’t have the same voice to express discomfort, so you must err on the side of caution at all times when temperatures rise above 25°C or so. As pet lovers ourselves (who debate dogs vs cats all the time!) Park Insurance has put together a list of practical tips to keep your furry family members cool during a long and hot summer.
7 Tips to Helping Your Dog (or cat) Maintain Their Cool During a Long and Hot Summer in BC
Heat-Beating Pet Products to Buy
There are a variety of products at your local pet store and available online that can help your pets beat the heat this summer. Our partner Pets Plus Us has taken the consumer guesswork out of the equation and put together a list of must-have items that will help keep your pets cool at home, and while out enjoying your summer days together. These include the following:
- Cooling mats
- Lightweight wearables
- Pet water fountains
- Portable pressurized pet shower kit
- Breezy wicker bike basket
- Doggie splash pool
- Doggie life jacket
- Elevated dog and cat bed
- Tear resistant dog pool floats
View more on Pets Plus Us’ guide to pet products for the summer.
Hold-Off on the Clippers?
Your first instinct may be to trim your dog’s fur, but this actually goes against what Mother Nature intended. Your dog’s natural fur actually helps keep them cool, so there is no need to shave it during the summer. That said, if you do invest in a cooling mat, the intended effect won’t work when they maintain their long coat. In this case, you may thin or lightly trim their fur, but be sure to leave their important topcoat in tact. Never shave them completely.
Keep the AC on at Home
You wouldn’t leave your kids at home on a hot summer day without keeping the AC on, so afford your pets the same luxury – which is really a necessity when it’s hot outside. The regular body temperature for cats and dogs is 3-4 degrees higher than for humans, so if it’s comfortable for you, it’s pretty much comfortable for them. In addition, keep the curtains drawn and blinds closed to keep the sun from penetrating rooms that they will be in while you’re out for the afternoon.
Create an Oasis from the Heat in Your Yard
Outside dogs and cats may love hanging out in your yard, but they still need to escape the heat. If you won’t be home to let them in when the temperature rises, be sure to provide an outdoor safe haven from the hot sun. Place the dog (or cat) house in an area in your yard the gets the least amount of sun exposure, especially between the hours of 11 am to 3 PM when its rays are strongest. Add some of those heat-beating products that we listed above to your outdoor setting, such as a pet water fountain and the splash pool. Always leave a bowl of fresh water in a shaded area, and drop a few ice cubes into it before you leave so that the coolness will last. If you end up being gone longer than expected, give your neighbor a call to check in on them.
Going to the Beach? Bring Them With You!
Need a day at the beach to escape the heat? So does your pup! Perform an online search for dog beaches, not only in your area, but for the cities and towns you plan to visit this summer. This way your dog doesn’t have to hang back at the hotel or vacation rental when you head out for some fun in the sun…and more importantly, in the water.
Protecting Their Paws on Hot Pavement
Some people don’t realize that hot pavement can burn their pets’ paws. Avoid taking your dog out for a walk on a hot sunny day when the sun is at or near its peak. If you must, plan the route around shaded sidewalks and stay on the grass as much as possible. The same goes for a day at the beach. If the sand is hot on your toes, it’s hot on their paws too. You may need to carry them to the shoreline, where they will find relief in the cool ocean or lake water.
It’s also important to note that both cats and dogs sweat through their paws. So not only is hot pavement uncomfortable or painful, it negatively impacts the one part of their body that controls their internal temperature.
There are products that you can buy to protect your pet’s paws from hot ground. These include the following:
- Paw wax
- Paw socks or boots
- Peel and stick pads
Keeping Cool on the Road
Many households are heading out on the open road this summer, and your precious pets are coming along for the ride. Unlike this person who strapped a dog crate (with a distressed German shepherd within) to the back of a travelling RV on the highway during BC’s record breaking heat wave, you actually care for your companion. Keep them inside of the vehicle. If you follow these tips to reducing the risk of heat stress on the road, your pets will also enjoy the benefits.
Park Insurance has partnered with Pets + Us to provide a group of products and services that make being a pet owner easier. There are policies in place that will provide for veterinary care and treatment for injuries or illnesses connected to heat stress and sun exposure. Coverage can include consultations, exams, emergency care, hospitalizations, drugs, surgery and more. View more about our pet insurance policies.
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