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Keeping Your Pets Cool This Summer

Summer is a time for fun in the sun, but it also brings challenges for our beloved pets. High temperatures can lead to overheating, dehydration, and heatstroke, making it crucial to ensure our furry friends stay cool and comfortable.

How Heat Affects Animals

Heat can be harder on our pets than on us. One reason is that animals do not sweat through their skin as we do. The main way they cool down is by panting. While they can sweat through the pads on their paws, this doesn’t provide a large amount of cooling. This means that dogs and cats in general are more susceptible to overheating than humans. Also, if an animal has a flat face such as a Bulldog, Pug or Persian Cat, if they are overweight or have other conditions such as cardiac issues, they can be at an even higher risk of overheating.

Hydration is Key

Water is the foundation of keeping pets cool. Always ensure that your pets have access to fresh, clean water. On especially hot days, place multiple water bowls around the house and yard to encourage regular drinking. Adding ice cubes to the water can help keep it cool and enticing. For pets who are reluctant drinkers, consider using a pet fountain, which can make drinking water more appealing.

Shade and Shelter

Providing ample shade is critical. If your pets spend time outdoors, make sure they have access to shaded areas throughout the day. Trees, tarps, and specially designed pet tents can offer much-needed relief from direct sunlight. For pets who stay indoors, draw the curtains or blinds to block out the heat and create a cooler environment.

Avoid Hot Surfaces

Hot pavement and asphalt can burn your pet’s paws and contribute to overheating. Before heading out for a walk, touch the ground with the back of your hand. If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet. Walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Additionally, consider investing in booties to protect their paws or stick to grassy areas.

Cooling Mats and Vests

Elevated beds, cooling mats and cooling vests are excellent tools to help your pets beat the heat. These products are designed to stay cool for extended periods and provide relief from high temperatures. Elevated beds keep your pet raised off the floor and allow for air circulation to keep your furry friend cooler. Cooling mats can be placed in your pet’s favorite resting spots, while cooling vests can be worn during walks or outdoor activities. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and care.


Regular grooming helps in managing your pet’s body temperature. For dogs, maintaining a well-groomed coat can enable better air circulation. However, avoid shaving double-coated breeds, as their fur provides insulation against both heat and cold. Instead, opt for regular brushing to remove excess fur and prevent matting. For cats, brushing helps reduce shedding and prevents hairballs, which can cause discomfort in the heat.

Never Leave Pets in a Parked Car

One of the most critical rules of pet safety during the summer is to never leave your pet in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures inside a car can soar to dangerous levels within minutes, leading to heatstroke or even death. If you need to run errands, leave your pets at home where they are safe and cool.

Signs of Heatstroke

Knowing the signs of heatstroke can save your pet’s life. Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, move them to a cooler area immediately, offer small amounts of water, and contact your veterinarian. Applying cool (not cold) water to their body and using a fan can help lower their temperature while you seek professional help.

Creative Cooling Treats

Treats can also help keep your pets cool. Freeze pet-friendly fruits like blueberries or watermelon (without seeds) for a refreshing snack. Ice cube treats made with low-sodium broth or water mixed with pet-safe flavors are another great option. These treats not only provide hydration but also help lower your pet’s body temperature.

Exercise with Caution

While exercise is essential, it is crucial to modify your pet’s routine during the summer. Opt for shorter, more frequent play sessions rather than long, intense activities. Always carry water with you and take breaks in shaded areas. Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior and stop immediately if they show signs of overheating.

Indoor Activities

On exceptionally hot days, consider indoor activities to keep your pets entertained and active. Puzzle toys, indoor fetch, and training sessions are excellent ways to stimulate your pet mentally and physically without exposing them to the heat. Ensure your home remains cool with fans or air conditioning.

At Harmony Vet, we care deeply about your pets’ health and happiness. We offer these suggestions to help you and your pets enjoy a safe and cool summer. If you have any concerns or more questions, our team is always here to assist you. Stay cool, stay safe, and enjoy the summer with your furry friends!