Keeping Pets Cool This Summer

July 9, 2011

Cars are the worst place for a pet this time of year, but there are other places where pets can easily get overheated.  Your back yard.  The beach.  If your air conditioning failed, your pets would be at risk even in their own home.

The pug-faced dogs like English Bulldogs or Boston Terriers are more at risk for heat stroke than long-nosed dogs, but any dog is at risk when temperatures near  triple digits.  And, some dogs just prefer cool places.  My elderly dog, Makeba, prefers to lie on the cool tile of the bathroom floor, even when I have the air conditioning cranking away.  So, if your pet needs some ways to stay cool this summer, consider some of the following tips.

Dogs don’t sweat like we do.  Instead they cool themselves by panting or drinking cool water.  You can help with the cooling effect of panting by providing pets with moving air.  In other words, a fan.  Leaving ceiling fans on in the house or setting up a fan that blows on the pet’s sleeping areas can make a world of difference.  It is hard to keep water cool in the summer, so I recommend that you provide two bowls of water for your dog.  One filled with fresh water and the other filled with frozen water that will melt during the day.  If you are traveling with your pet, a bowl with frozen water is a very handy way to prevent spillage and provide your pet with cool water whenever he wants it.

No pet should be left outside during our summer months, but even when you are home and your pet is outside exercising, you must provide shade.  Also consider turning on sprinklers while your pet is outside so he or she can stay wet.  Pools are nice for a cooling swim, but dogs should not be left unsupervised around a pool.  Every summer I hear of an elderly pet that fell in the pool and simply couldn’t get out before he got exhausted, or a young dog who forgot where the steps were and couldn’t get out in time.  Baby pools are a great cooling resource for big dogs.

There are some great new products on the market that can help dogs stay cool.  At you can find bandanas that stay cool for hours.  You simply soak them in water and put them around your dog’s neck.  Special crystals inside keep the bandana, and your pet’s neck, nice and cool.  They also have vests that work the same way and can keep your dog’s torso cool for about 2 hours.

At you can find a Cool Pet Pad that is activated by the pressure of your dog’s weight.  So when he lies on the pad, it gets cold and can stay cold for 3-4 hours.  It “recharges” itself when your pet gets up.  These might be especially nice for that large dog with arthritis or elbow calluses who resists sleeping on his orthopedic bedding because it is simply too hot.  This soft pad is cooling and comfortable on old joints.

This same web site also has car thermometers.  If you are travelling with your pet, this is a must.  If your pet is in the “way back”, you should be monitoring that temperature to make sure the AC is reaching that far back.  Thermometer or not, don’t leave your pet alone in the car for even a minute.  You’ll see why when you read the thermometer!

I also like the bottles that have an attached trough that folds up on the bottle.  When your pet is thirsty on a walk, just flip down the trough, squeeze out the water and your dog can drink easily.  Pretty cool huh?  Speaking of walks, don’t forget that paws burn on sidewalks and asphalt.  Be sure to walk early in the morning to avoid this problem.  If you can’t avoid a short walk on a sunny day, consider booties to protect your dog’s feet.

Have fun out there and enjoy the Carolina summer!



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