Keep Your Pets Cool for the Summer

It’s essential to manage your pet’s temperature during hot summer weather, from dogs, cats, and rabbits to your squeaking guinea pig. Without the proper precautions, household companion animals may have a tough time regulating their body temperatures during those scorching summer days. Dogs pant, cats find a cold surface to lay on, and rabbits divert blood flow to their ears to keep cool. The way our pets regulate their body temperatures may not be enough to keep them safe. Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small animals, are susceptible to heat exhaustion while certain breeds of dogs and cats are equally at risk.

What to do when you’re not at home:

  • Keep the blinds shut and curtains closed. 
  • Always have fresh water available. Room temperature or slightly cool is ideal. Anything above that can offset your pet’s body temperature, potentially causing them to go into shock under certain circumstances. 
  • Use air conditioners or fans to keep the air at a comfortable temperature.
  • Keep cold surfaces like tile uncovered and accessible for your pets to lay on.

If you’re stuck at home with your pets and are looking for a distraction, don’t force them to play if they are resting on particularly hot days. They could be lazy, but they might also be keeping their body temperature down. Check back in with them later in the evening for a round of fetch. 

Although we may enjoy a fresh haircut in the summer, you should not shave your pets unless explicitly directed by your veterinarian.

A shaved coat prevents cold air from reaching their skin, and it doesn’t protect against the sun’s rays or bug bites. Cold air stays trapped against your pet’s skin when their coat is intact. Frequently brush your pet’s fur to keep excess hair out and help them look the best at the local dog park.

Sometimes things are out of our control, so it’s important to know the signs of heatstroke in pets.

Keep your veterinarian’s number saved in your phone for emergencies like this. You should give them a call right away if your pet is presenting any of the following symptoms:

  • restlessness 
  • excessive thirst
  • heavy panting
  • dark tongue
  • rapid heartbeat
  • fever
  • vomiting 
  • lack of coordination
  • lethargy
  • unconsciousness

Walking is an excellent exercise for your pooch.

During hot weather months, it’s important to remember that your pup’s paws are exposed to the heat of the surface they are walking on. If you can’t keep your hand comfortably on the walking surface for at least seven seconds, it’s likely too hot for your pup.

If your pup is still adamant about working on their summer body, consider the following tips for walking safely in hot temperatures:

  • Whip out the kiddie pool, your pup’s favorite toys, and play in the yard.
  • Walk on grass instead of pavement.
  • Consider shortening your walk. 
  • Walk in the early morning or the evening when the sun has gone down. You’ll still need to check the pavement because that heat can linger. 
  • Up your pup’s style with booties to protect their paws (and please send us videos of your pup walking in them for the first time).

Lastly, any pet shouldn’t be left in a vehicle for an extended time during extreme weather.

Check out the infographic below for more details and information on what you can do when you see a pet trapped in a hot car. We should all stay cool for the summer so we can continue making memories with our best buddies for the seasons to come.

Bringing The Heat created by FIGO Pet Insurance.
"Bringing The Heat " graphic created by FIGO Pet Insurance.

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