How to Keep Pets Cool in a Home Without Air Conditioning
When temperatures start to climb, there can be little escape for those without air conditioning. This is especially true in the Seattle area — a region that notoriously lacks air conditioning in homes and rentals.
While you may spend much of your day at work, your pets must endure the temperature in your home. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to help keep your pets cool at home during the dog days of summer.
It’s important to note that certain pets are at greater risk than others. Pets that are very young or old, overweight, or diagnosed with heart or respiratory conditions are more likely to suffer adverse reactions to excess heat.
If possible, your pet’s time in the direct sunshine should be limited when temperatures peak. Take walks early in the morning and later in the evening, or schedule a professional walker and sitter if you’ll be away. If you have a cat that isn’t already indoor-only, keep him or her inside during midday. No matter what, make sure any pets have free access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day.
Hydration is critical
The hotter it is, the easier it may be for your pet to wind up dehydrated. Dehydration makes pets more susceptible to additional health issues caused by extreme heat. The solution to this is simple: Provide at least one source (but ideally several sources) of clean, fresh water. Adding ice to the reservoir or placing the water in a well-shaded area will help keep it cool throughout the day.
Both cats and dogs sweat through their paws, so check for sweaty paw prints on hard surfaces when you get home. If your pet is sweating, you may need to take additional steps to help keep your furry friend both hydrated and cool.
Dogs have a harder time regulating their body temperature than cats. If there’s a room in your home that gets a breeze, crack the windows and close the curtains on hot days (just make sure the windows are equipped with screens and that your pet cannot escape). For most cats, a running fan and closed curtains, blinds, or shades should be enough to help them keep cool. Of course, don’t rely on a fan alone. A power outage can occur when several air conditioners are running on the same power grid, so a natural source of ventilation and air flow is an important backup.
A little grooming goes a long way
All of that fur traps in heat. While a thick coat can be a blessing during the winter months, it can present unique problems during seasonal heatwaves. While your pet can groom itself to a certain degree, you can help speed up and improve the grooming process. Regularly brush your dog or cat to remove the excess undercoat as it sheds away. Schedule a trim for long-haired breeds. Typically, a shorter coat means less heat retention.
Invest in a cooling body mat
Available for purchase online and in some pet stores, cooling body wraps or mats are a great way to help your pet chill out during the day. Simply soak the mat in cool water and attach it comfortably on your pet. Some mats can stay cool for up to three days without dripping excess moisture. Pet owners in particularly hot regions may find that this is an essential option for high-risk pets.
Hire someone to check in during the day
Even if it’s too hot outside for a long walk, a professional dog walker can take your pup potty in the yard and keep them company while they cool down. Hiring a sitter is the perfect way to make sure your dog or cat is comfortable at home. In addition to refilling water bowls and running a fan, sitters can offer pet parents invaluable peace of mind during a hot day.
Offer a cool-down bath when you get home
Refill your pet’s water bowl when you return home to ensure it is cool and fresh. If you have a yard, let your dog play in the sprinkler or give your pet a quick spritz with a hose. Alternatively, you can give your dog a cool bath. While cats may protest a full-body bath, they may let you dip just their paws into cool water.
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