When the temps hit 90+ degrees, pets should be kept inside with air conditioning to prevent serious risk of heat stroke. If you absolutely can’t keep Fido inside, be sure there is shade, lots of water (kept in the shade and in containers that can’t be tipped over) and, if possible, a fan to blow air toward your pet in the shade.
Gravel and sand surfaces become especially hot and painful in rising temperatures. They are not suitable footing for your pet, but grass provides cooling relief.
For dog owners with short-muzzled breeds be especially vigilant about exposing your pets to the hot air, as they are even more susceptible to heat-related emergencies.
I had one client who was devastated after leaving her young, healthy, short-snouted dog in the shade, with lots of water and a fan, while she hiked in the woods for an hour and returned to find her beloved companion had perished from heat stroke.
For long-haired breeds—dogs and cats alike—a summer haircut is an easy way to help cool off. It is a myth that long fur provides an “air conditioning” effect.
Breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Great Pyrenees and Bearded Collies feel more comfortable when sporting shorter “puppy cuts” for the summer. If you can’t bear the sight of your pooch in short hair, consider having his or her belly shaved or clipped very short while leaving the top coat long. This way your dog can lie on cool surfaces and enjoy the relief.
You can leave the tail au naturel when clipping, so your dog doesn’t feel naked. By body clipping your feline, but leaving the tail hair intact, you won’t change your cat’s sense of balance.
Take a tip from the owners of agility dogs and purchase inexpensive chamois cloths at your local discount store. Run the fabrics under cool water and wring out partially, then place moist cloths in the freezer. Pull them out, and drape them over your pet’s backside for instant cooling. You can cut the cloths to a size appropriate for your pet.
Adding ice cubes to your pet’s water dish is a great way to give him or her a refreshment break. My dogs enjoy small pieces of ice to chew on, and they get the added bonus of cooling off as they munch.
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