Hot weather days can be uncomfortable and stressful both for you and your pets, especially the long-haired ones. Even the healthiest dogs or the sun-worshipping cats may feel irritated with the temperature and humidity. Here are ten useful tips for manageable sunny days:
1. Regular grooming
Regular grooming is essential to keep your pet feeling cool in the hot weather. Brushing also helps the skin have some breathing room. Long-haired pets, especially, need daily brushing to avoid dead hairs. Shaving is also an option to keep them comfortable. However, not all pets can yield the same results. Some pets will be fine after a whole body shave but some others are sensitive and may acquire rashes or skin problems. Different fur coats have a different growth cycle and some pets will take years to regain their natural look. To shave or not to shave? You’ll never know it until you try it with your lovely pets. The safest thing to do is to trim down the hair at least 1 inch from the skin. This way, your pet can allow some fresh air to seep into the skin and to protect their skin from the harmful sun.
2. Watch out for overheating signs
Here are the signs of overheating on pets: excessive panting, drooling, lethargy, high body temperature, sunken eyes, dry mouth, and in some serious cases, vomiting & diarrhea. The elders, the puppies, the kittens and the overweight ones are more vulnerable to heatstroke, especially pets with a history of heart and lung diseases. If your pet is showing these signs, bring them in a cool area. Get a towel soaked in cold water and wrap it in your pet’s underarm, belly and groin area. Prepare an ice pack but avoid giving them rapidly to avoid shock. You may want to use cold water spray to ease the heat.
3. Stay indoors
If you plan to take daily strolls, make sure that you avoid hours between 9 AM to 3 PM, as the sun is at its peak. You’re not only avoiding heat stroke for you and your pet, but you’re also letting your small friend do more exercise in cooler hours. Don’t forget to bring some water bottles, like the ELSPET pet bottle, when doing outdoor exercise to keep them hydrated. Choose drinking bottles that are easy to use and has a filtration mechanism so that the water will always be safe and will stay fresh. If the sun is already out, don’t let them do strenuous exercise. Instead, keep them indoors and stay at a lower temperature. Move their hutches or cages to areas with a decent amount of shade. Misting spray, cooling bandanas, collars or cooling mats can be a good investment for tolerable humid weather.
4. Stay hydrated
Always keep your pets hydrated with enough amount of fresh water all throughout the day. Cats can be picky with water and they need to change their water bowl every hour or so. Make sure to change it because they know if it’s fresh or not. This way, you encourage your pets to drink more, thus avoiding dehydration.
Fountain water is also a good investment to push them to drink more in a day. Choose pet fountains that mare made with high-grade quality materials, such as the ELSPET Water Fountain. Their water will stay fresh because of its four levels of filtration. If you’re leaving home, a water fountain assures you that they are constantly hydrated and they are drinking safe and fresh water.
5. Wet food
Have you noticed that your pet has a lower appetite during the hot season? They may be feeling uncomfortable with the dry food that you’re giving. Incorporate wet food on your pet’s regular diet to maximise their liquid intake and to avoid dry mouths. Reward positive behaviour with wet treats or canned meat for more hydration.
6. Mind the car
Number #1 rule when bringing pets inside the car: never leave them unattended. Even when the window is open or the AC is on, pets can feel distressed and uncomfortable inside an enclosed spaced, like a car. It’s even more dangerous when the car is sitting still under the striking sun. Remember to bring water bottles or a mist spray when going for a long ride with your pets.
7. Consider sunscreens
Not many fur parents know it but sunscreens are already available for your pet’s hot weather essentials. It may come in creams or wipes, depending on the brand. Just like humans, their skin needs protection too, so make sure to apply it at the tips of their ears, nose or belly. Fair-skinned pets are more susceptible to skin cancer and sunburns so be aware and consider investing in sunscreens. Make sure that the products are labelled safe for animals and ideally, choose a sunscreen with Factor 50+ for maximum sun protection.
8. Paw protection
Don’t let your pets linger on hot floor surfaces such as asphalt, sand, tarmac or metal. Their body may heat up quickly and they can get paw pad burns if left unattended. Your pet’s adorable paws need some protection and care too!
Not a pet owner? If you’re looking to adopt or own a pet, keep in mind that some pets require more care than others. Breeds with thick coat, long hair and snub-nosed, such as Persian cats, pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers, are more vulnerable to heatstroke and they require cooling maintenance if you live particularly in a humid place. You may consider installing an air conditioner or getting an air cooler to keep them cool in extreme weather condition. However, if you prefer the low maintenance, look for thin-coated animals such as beagles, chihuahuas, dalmatians, British short-haired, Siamese or domestic shorthair cats. They are gifted in beating the heat and demand less maintenance during the hot weather.
Now that you’re equipped with tips on how to handle the sun, you can enjoy the day without worrying too much about heatstroke, sunburn or skin cancer. Let them play outside but always be mindful of the sun. Remember, their health and safety depends on your care and attention. Your day will be as enjoyable as theirs if you keep them hydrated, feeling fresh and comfortable even with the sunny daytime.