Keep your Pets (& Horses) Cool as Temperatures Rise

Keeping cool during hot summer days!

The dog days of summer are just around the corner so now is a good time to review the basics of keeping your favorite four-legged friend cool, safe and healthy.

It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A PARKED CAR! (Okay, maybe we just shouted it.). Although your pet may enjoy a car ride, it’s better to leave him at home than take the risk of leaving him in a parked vehicle. For horse owners, consider the weather when hauling and avoid trailering on extremely hot days.

Water intake naturally increases with the temperature. Make certain that your pets have free access to fresh, cool water at all times. Animals will try to keep cool by seeking cooler areas such as a linoleum floor or a shady area under trees. Pet owners can create shady areas by hanging tarps or erecting shade structures that still allow for air flow. Horses in stalls can benefit from fans blowing on them (just make sure all electrical cords are safely away from nibbling teeth!) Hosing off horses with cool water, taking your dog for a swim or providing a cooling mat for your pet will also help.

Your pet still needs exercise. During the heat of the summer it’s best to change outside play time to early morning or evening when the sun is not at its hottest. Be extremely cautious with exercise when the heat and humidity are both high as your pet can easily overheat under those conditions. And remember, asphalt gets very hot under the summer sun and your pet isn’t wearing shoes! It’s best to play in the grass to keep him from burning his pads.

Summer can be more difficult on animals at greater risk of over-heating such as the very young, elderly, overweight, animals with heart and lung disease, and dogs and cats with flat-shaped faces (pugs and Persians). Take your pet’s personal circumstances into account and adjust accordingly.