It’s getting hot, hot, hot in Australia and as the temperature rises it’s important to find ways to keep your pet cool and protected from the sun. Not only is it hot, according to SunSmart, Australia has some of the highest UV levels in the world!
It has become second nature for Australians to slip on protective clothing, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat but what about pets? It’s true that pets have natural mechanisms for keeping cool but in extreme temperatures it’s our responsibility to ensure that they do not overheat, dehydrate or get sunburnt.
Basking in the sun - Image Courtesy of Nomadic Lass - Flickr
What do pets do to keep themselves cool and protected?
Just like us, on a hot day most animals will reduce their activity and seek out cool/shady areas. Each animal also has their own unique methods of dealing with the summer sun.
- Fur provides a shield from sun’s UV rays.
- Sweat through their paw pads.
- Pant through their mouths to regulate temperatures.
- Fur provides a shield from sun’s UV rays.
- Sweat through their paw pads.
- Groom themselves, leaving saliva on the fur, which evaporates and cools the body.
- Birds can pant just like dogs to release heat from evaporation along the mouth, throat and lungs.
- Bathing in water.
- Ruffling their feathers to allow cool air to circulate.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs
- Body temperature is regulated through their ears. When their body temp raises blood vessels in the ears expand allowing more blood to flow through them. The air then cools this blood in the vessels which circulates back through the body.
- They also alter their breathing rate.
What do cats and dogs need in the heat?
Dogs and cats require cool shady areas to relax during the heat, and there are unique products to keep dogs and cats cool. You can provide cooling mats around the home as they help to dissipate the heat away from the body when your pet lies on them. You also need to ensure they have a continuous supply of fresh water, making sure multiple water sources are available. This is beneficial as one water source may get spilled plus water evaporates quickly in the heat.
Try to avoid taking your dog outdoors in the hottest parts of the day. When you do go for walks or daytrips make sure you take enough water for yourself and your dog. In extreme heat if you must take your dog out, put dog boots on your pooch to protect their paw pads from burning hot concrete or sand.
Use dog-safe sunscreen when you know your dog is going to be exposed to UV rays, paying particular attention to the nose, ears and areas where hair is thin.The following cats and dogs prone to sunburn:
- Those with light coloured and white fur.
- Those with pink/light coloured ears and noses.
- House pets that aren’t used to the elements.
- Hairless dogs and cats.
- Short/thin haired dogs and cats.
- Recently clipped/shaved dogs.
With heat come flies and mosquitos which are unpleasant for us and dogs. Flies can spread disease and cause contact dermatitis through biting, irritate eyes and in extreme cases can lay eggs on your dog. It’s also extremely important to protect your dog from mosquitos since these are the primary cause of heartworm in dogs. Heartworm disease is a serious parasitic condition caused by a worm that lives in the blood vessels and heart.
Of course the warm weather can be great fun too! Taking your dog to the beach, lake or river is a great of keeping your dogs cool in summer. Taking along floating toys will ensure your dog stays interested with playing in the water and keeping cool.
One - Chilly Dog Cooling Vest
A cooling vest for dogs is a great way to keep larger dogs cool in the heat. It uses four gel packs that go into your freezer.During warm weather simply take the gel packs out of the freezer, insert them into the compartments and then place the vest on your dog. It helps to lower your dog’s body temperature for hours at a time.
Two - All For Paws - Cool Dog Mat
Made with a special cooling gel inserted in the inner lining, your dog can laze away the summer days comfortably.
Three – All For Paws Chill Out Ice Ball
Simply soak the ball in water and the gel core will absorb it. You then put the Ice Ball in the freezer and once frozen you give it to your dog. It will keep your pooch cool whilst he plays with it.
This doggy sunscreen compares to SPF15 for humans and is a non-toxic, non-greasy formula. Simply mist or wipe the product over sensitive areas or the entire body to protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
FiltaBac cream is an antibacterial cream that also includes sunblock with a high SPF rating of 29-33. It is easy to put on and is ideal for treating dogs that spend a considerable amount of time in the sun. It can be used on cats too but you should seek advice from your vet first since cats are sensitive.
You know that sensation of hot burning concrete or sand that causes you to hop, skip and jump to the nearest shady area? Well your dog gets that too. If it’s too hot for your bare feet; it’s too hot for your dog.
If it is necessary to take your dog out when the ground is hot place these doggy boots on their feet. They’ll protect delicate paw pads and provide extra grip for activities.
During summer, flies, insects and mosquitos can annoy your dog and pose a risk to their health. Troy Fly Repella is an easy to apply cream that repels flies and biting insects. Troy Repel-X kills fleas and flies on contact and repels flies, mosquitos and other biting insects.
The Porta-LeBistro allows you to have a clean supply of water on hand when walking or travelling with your dog. It incorporates a bottle and bowl, so there’s everything you need to keep your buddy hydrated. The bottle pulls upwards and gravity causes the water to enter the trough, where your pet drinks from.
Drinkwell pet fountains from Petsafe give your dog or cat a continuous supply of fresh water. Ever noticed your cat drinking from your tap or your dog drinking from a hose? Animals prefer to drink from a moving water source because it is aerated. These fountains incorporate a reservoir and a unique falling water technique that mimics running water.
Three – Aqua Buddy Automatic Waterer
The Aqua Buddy Waterer is designed to go outdoors to provide your pooch with a continuous water supply. Simply connect a hose to the inlet and water will flow into the bowl until it is full and will replenish itself automatically.
Four – Doog Foldable Bowl
With this portable bowl from Doog, you’ll never have to pour water in your hands again! It folds flat for portability and when needed it becomes a bowl that securely holds water.
Inside the rubber outer is a crunchy core that’s great for fetch. The good part is it floats on water.
Two – Kong Aqua Rope Toy
The shape of this toy makes it ideal for games of fetch at the beach both in and out of water. It features a built in rope that’s great for tossing and retrieving.
Three – Chuckit Amphibious Bumper
This toy floats on water and the bright colours contrast against water making it easy for your dog to see. Made from nylon and rubber, the toy is very durable and can be played on water, or on land.
Four – Rogz Floating Frisbee
Who doesn’t love a game of Frisbee at the beach? This Rogz Frisbee is made of lightweight foam so it won’t damage your dog’s pearly whites.
Five – Kong Wubba Water
The Kong Wubba Water is made especially for water playtime with your dog. The neoprene (wetsuit material) is fast drying and it makes a great fetch and tug toy.
One – Kazoo Bird Bath
One way that birds keep cool is with a bath. This shallow bird bath allows them to wet their feathers and stay cool.
Two – JB Bird Water Silo
The design of this bird waterer makes sure that your bird has a continuous supply of water. The bottle is attached upright and gravity causes the water to flow downwards into the trough, where your bird drinks.
Three - Ware Chewproof Water Bottle
Made from glass, Ware Chewproof bottles are durable and resistant to heat, unlike plastic. They also have a little float inside so it’s easy to see when the bottle is empty.
Four - Hound House Cavy House
This miniature version of the classic Hound House Kennel is ideal for guinea pigs and rats. It has a fabric mesh floor that allows air to circulate, keeping your pet cool.
Five - Living World ceramic dish
This bowl is appropriate for rabbits, rats and guinea pigs. It has a slanted design making it easy for your pet to reach water and the heavy base prevents tipping. During warm weather it’s a good idea to provide your pet with a water bottle and water bowl to ensure they drink.
There are plenty of products that can help you to survive the sizzle of summer with your pet. Do you have any other suggestions for keeping your pets cool? Share them in the comments below.