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Our top tips for keeping your pets cool in summer

Our top tips for keeping your pets cool in summer

Dec 15, 2023

With the weather warming up and many more hot days on the way, it’s important to keep your pets cool on these summer days. If you’re feeling hot, chances are your pets are too!

While most cats and dogs are pretty efficient at cooling themselves down, they can still overheat but by following a few essential measures, you can ensure your pets stay cool and healthy even in the hottest summer conditions.

Provide plenty of fresh drinking water

Hydration is really important for animals, just like it is for people. Encouraging cats to keep hydrated can be a bit trickier, but running some tap water for them or getting a drinking fountain can help entice them to drink.

It’s important to place plenty of water bowls in and around your house and keep them topped up with fresh, cool water. Ceramic bowls are great for keeping the water cold and won’t absorb the water as quickly as other bowls can.

Don’t forget to give your dog water while they are on a walk or out an about – a portable water bowl makes this an easy task for providing a drink on the go.

Offer more wet food

If your cat or dog isn’t so keen on drinking lots of water, consider increasing the amount of wet food you offer on hotter days. This is a really easy way for your pet to take in more fluid without them even realising. If you do up the amount of wet food in your pet’s diet, it’s important to reduce the amount of dry food so you don’t overfeed them.

Walk your dog in the cooler parts of the day

It’s still important to exercise your dog in summer but you need to avoid the harshness of the sun. This will significantly reduce the risk of your dog overheating and burning their feet on hot pavement or asphalt. If the ground feels hot to your touch, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet!

  • Go for walks in the early morning or in the evening
  • Take it slow, and allow for plenty of breaks during your walk
  • Opt for two shorter walks rather than a longer walk
  • If you have the space inside your house, opt for some indoor games with your dog, such as modified versions of fetch

Give your pet a hand in keeping cool

If possible, keep your cat or dog inside during the hottest parts of the day, with cool air circulating via fan or air-conditioning. An ice pack wrapped in a damp towel, or a cooling mat will help provide your furred friend some cool relief in the worst of the day’s heat.

Pug dog in paddle pool keeping cool

Most dogs love water and will appreciate getting wet when it’s warm. A nice refreshing swim in a pool (or paddle pool for smaller dogs) is a great way to keep them cool. If you don’t have access to a pool, a play under a sprinkler or hose is more than enough to help cool your dog down.

Signs of heat stroke

While cats and dogs rely on panting to cool themselves down, they can still become overheated in certain circumstances. Flatter-faced brachycephalic breeds of dogs (such as Pugs, Bulldogs and Shih Tzus) and cats (Persians, Burmese and Himalayans) are also at increased risk of heat stroke due to their shortened noses and ineffective panting.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition, so it’s important to know the signs to look out for.

  • Distressed breathing
  • Panting that seems to be excessively laboured
  • Difficulty walking or weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Drooling or salivating

If you think your pet may have heat stroke, you need to try and cool them down as quickly as possible. Move them into air-conditioning or under a fan and spray cool water onto their fur and skin and call your vet for advice.

If you are ever concerned that your pet may be overheating and becoming unwell, please get in touch with our Gawler East small animal vet clinic. You can call us on 08 8318 1801.