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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Keep Pets Cool in the Summer Heat

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By Grace Chen

You already know what you need to do in the summertime to stay cool. However, often the family pet is forgotten with all the day trips to the pool, soccer practice, or to the mall to take advantage of the air conditioning. But it is just as important, if not more so, to make sure that your pets stay cool (remember, they are often wearing fur coats) when the days get hot.

Staying Cool Inside

If you have pets indoors, there is a chance that they can still become overheated, especially if you do not have air conditioning. If you do not have central air, consider putting a window unit into a guest bedroom and allowing your pets to hang out there during the heat of the day. Alternatively, basements are often a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house and can provide some relief by allowing pets to lie on the cool cement. Fans can be used to help circulate the air and create a breeze, however, you should use caution and make sure that the cords are not accessible to your pets and that the fans are placed in areas where your pets cannot knock them over.

Staying Cool Outside

If you have a dog or other animal that spends most of the day outdoors, you may need to make special arrangements when the summer comes around to help your pet stay cool. You should look into your city’s ordinances – in some places you are not allowed to leave your pet outdoors once the temperature passes a certain point. A cooling pet bed can make all the difference in your pet's temperature and comfort level.

For outdoor pets, it is crucial that they have some way of cooling off. Shade should be provided, either in the form of a shaded area of the yard or a large dog house. Make sure that if your dog is chained that he has enough chain to allow him to get up and follow the shade throughout the day. If you take long walks or car rides, make sure that you take water with you. Do not leave pets inside the car on hot days.

Water

All pets, indoors and out, need to have access to fresh, clean water when it is hot out to prevent dehydration. If your pet has a tendency to spill, consider using a weighted pet dish or an automatic pet waterer. You could also put ice cubes in the dish that will melt gradually and provide water throughout the day. If you are dealing with housetraining issues, crate your pet when not at home but allow access to a hanging water bottle.

Treats

While pets do not need treats, treats can also be a great way to help them cool off in the summer time. Ice cubes can double as both a way to get water and cool off and a fun toy. Pet-friendly ice cream treats can be a great way to cool off (never use real ice cream; look for the ones specially designed for pets). Outdoor animals might enjoy a romp in a plastic kiddie pool filled with water or a run through the sprinkler.

In the summer, pets can easily get overheated. Knowing how to stay cool can keep everyone happy and healthy.





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