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Tips on how to keep your pets cool in the heat

Handy hints that may save your pet’s life during the summer months

It’s great that the weather is finally starting to warm up once again. There’s nothing like longer days and warmer nights to help lift our mood and make us thaw out from the long lockdown winter.

But as the weather hots up and many of us are out and about, it’s important to understand the effects heat can have on your pets. And each pet will be affected differently, so it’s up to you as their owner to keep an eye on them.

It’s interesting to note that pets can feel the heat a lot more than us. So, if you’re sweating and complaining about how hot it is, spare a thought for your poor furry pet who’s feeling it more than you!

Some pets will be affected by heat more than others

As a loving pet owner, you need to take certain precautions to keep your pet cool on hot days. Without proper care, pets can overheat and even die in the heat.

Some pets are likely to overheat more than others:

  • Old pets can’t regulate their temperature

  • Dogs with short noses (pugs and bulldogs) are prone to heatstroke

  • Pets with thick coats can quickly overheat, so consider clipping them during the warmer months

  • Pets breed for cooler climates (husky’s, malamutes, and so on) tend to not cope with the heat

On the warmer days (where possible), you should leave your pets inside in the cool and have plenty of water on hand (leave more than one bowl out).

If you choose to go for a walk, be mindful of the hot pavement under your dog’s feet. Don’t run (as a dog will collapse before giving up), and try to find a grass walk as it’s cooler for your dog. As dogs sweat from their paws, cooler surfaces help keep their temperature down.

Signs your pet is overheating in summer

Heatstroke can be deadly. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Excessive thirst and heavy panting

  • Lack of appetite and lethargy

  • A rapid heartbeat

  • Fever and vomiting

  • Lack of coordination

If your pet is showing any of these signs on a hot day, get them into a cool spot and lower their body temperature by encouraging them to drink. You can pour lukewarm water over them and apply a cold towel or ice pack to their head, neck and chest. Call the vet and get your pet checked asap.

Tips for keeping dogs cool in the heat

  • If your dog must be outside, make sure you’ve got a shady spot (put up a canopy if you need to) and fill up a kiddie pool or clamshell with water they can lie in or drink from

  • Go for a walk either early in the morning or late at night, avoiding the hottest parts of the day, and take some water with you

  • Avoid car rides and never leave them in a car (even for a couple of minutes), and avoid them standing on metal Ute trays in the heat of the day

  • If your dog is outside, you can hose them down during the day to keep them cooler

  • Look for (and buy) cooling aids for dogs such as bandanas or vests, which are designed to keep dogs cool during the warmer weather

  • Keep them inside as much as possible and give them plenty of cool drinking water, complete with ice blocks when it’s a scorcher

Tips for keeping cats cool in the heat

  • Like dogs, cats sweat through their paws, so keeping them inside during the hottest part of the day is advisable

  • Let your cat sleep where they’re comfortable – tiled floors are great for cats to lie on in the summer heat

  • Provide lots of cool drinking water and, if possible, leave a tap slowly dripping, so they’re entertained while cooling down

  • Look for (and buy) cat cooling aids such as cooling mats that are great for keeping cats cool

Tips for keeping birds cool in the heat

  • If your aviary is outside, hang hessian material from the roof to cover the sunny side, and hose it down to create a cooling system for your birds

  • Put a birdbath or lots of water inside the aviary to allow your birds to splash and cool down

  • Ensure their cage is away from sun-filled windows and has ventilation

  • Use a spray bottle on a mist setting and gently spray your bird during the hot days

You can always hire a pet minder to check in on your animals on hot days

If you need to be out on a hot day and you’re not keen to leave your pet outside in the heat, you can ask a pet minder (like me!) to pop in and check on your pets. Your dog can be let out for a toilet break, and their water can be topped up and refreshed.

When you have an older dog, or an animal prone to heatstroke, having a pet sitter will help you feel at ease when you can’t be with them. You can view my range of services here.

Take care and pat your fur babies from me.


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