By Ian White
You know that summer is hot. You also know when you need to get out of the sun and cool down. Listening to your own body is easy, but your four-legged friends can’t talk to you. It’s your job to protect them from the heat – and all of the consequences of summer – by providing everything that they need to stay cool.
When temperatures climb and your pets are panting the afternoons away, follow these tips to keep them safe and happy even on the hottest of days.
-If possible, let your animals come inside during the worst heat every day. Early afternoon is the hottest time of day for any living thing: letting your cats or dogs soak up some air conditioning for a few hours every day will keep them cool and stop your worrying.
-Make sure that your pets have access to shady spots at all times. Trees are the best sources of protection from the sun. If that isn’t possible, make sure that your pet can get under a covered area, such as a patio or porch.
-Keep the pet’s water supply cool and fresh. The water will heat up as the day passes, so either change the dish often or invest in an auto-watering system. Many models attach to your outdoor water faucet: as your pet depletes the water supply, the system adds more without overflowing or making a mess.
-Never leave your animal in a car, even for just a few minutes. The temperature inside the vehicle quickly rises to the point where any living thing inside will either die or become very, very sick. Even if you park in the shade and leave the windows down an inch or two, you’re still putting your beloved pet at risk. You should leave your dog at home where he can stay in the shade or inside and have plenty of access to fresh, cool water.
-Don’t expect your pets to be playful or overly active on hot days. They don’t need to overexert themselves any more than you do. Like humans, pets can suffer from heat exhaustion or heat strokes.
-Some pets love to swim. Provide these animals with a kid’s wading pool so that they can cool off whenever they get too hot. You can also take your dog with you on trips to the lake or other body of water. If he loves to swim, the cool water will be great. The time he gets to spend with his human masters only makes the experience better for everybody.
-You might be tempted to shave off all of your pet’s hair, but this isn’t a good idea. The hair protects your animal’s skin from the sun. The hair also helps channel cool air to your pet’s skin, which helps him stay cooler. Instead of buzzing everything, trim the hair to a shorter length. A professional groomer can do this inexpensively and properly.
-If your pet seems sick or otherwise abnormal, call your veterinarian immediately. If your cat or dog is dehydrated or is suffering from heat exhaustion, he’ll need quick treatment to get well again.
Copyright © 2006, Ian White Access 2000 Pty Ltd
Author Ian White is founder of pet-sitters.biz Pet Sitting directory. Find a local Pet Sitter to care for your pets while you are away