As temperatures rise, your pet’s heat-related illness risk increases. Heatstroke, sunburn, and blistered paws are dangers your pet faces during the summer. Our Juanita Hills Animal Hospital team recommends essential summer gear to help keep your pet cool and comfortable when the weather is hot and humid.
Portable pet water bowl
For pets on the go, staying hydrated is crucial. If you are going to be out and about with your furry pal, pack bottled water and a portable water bowl so you can easily offer them a drink when their tongue begins lolling. You can conveniently clip a collapsible bowl to your belt for easy storage and access. Ensure you clean the bowl after every outing to prevent bacteria accumulation.
Pet life vest
Taking a dip is a great way to cool down on a hot, sticky summer day. Properly fit your pet with a life vest to ensure they are safe while paddling in a pool, pond, or the ocean. A snug fit ensures the vest will keep your pet’s head above water, and that the material doesn’t rub or pinch their skin. Your pet’s life vest should also include these features:
- Bright color — Outfit your pet in a life vest that is brightly colored, such as red, yellow, or orange, which helps you keep an eye on your four-legged friend while they are in the water.
- Top handle — A durable top handle is important so you can rescue your pet if they start to struggle while in the water. A top handle is also helpful when transporting your pet from a dock to a boat.
- Leash attachment — Having a leash attachment enables you to restrain your pet between swims without taking off their life vest.
- Reflective strips — Reflective strips increase your pet’s visibility, and are especially helpful if your furry pal likes to swim at night.
- Extra floatation material — All pet life vests should have full-torso coverage as a safe minimum. However, if you have a flat-faced (i.e., brachycephalic) or short-legged pet who isn’t a strong swimmer, you may consider extra flotation material to help keep them buoyant.
Pet kiddie pool
If swimming isn’t your pet’s thing, or if you don’t have time to take them to the lake, set up a kiddie pool in your backyard. This is a great way to let your pet cool down and have fun when the weather is too hot for other activities. Your pet can splash around a kiddie pool or simply lounge in the cool water. Another great option to keep your pet cool and entertained on a hot summer day is to let them run through a sprinkler.
The sun can be brutal, burning exposed skin and increasing your pet’s cancer risk. All pets, especially those whose coats are a light color or thin, are susceptible to the sun’s rays. To help your four-legged friend avoid sunburn, apply a pet-safe sunscreen before going outside. Follow these sunscreen tips:
- Choosing a pet-specific product — Ingredients, such as zinc and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), in sunscreens intended for people are toxic to pets. Choose a product that is specifically formulated for pets.
- Testing the product — Before applying sunscreen to all your pet’s sunburn-susceptible skin areas, test the product on a small area to ensure your four-legged friend doesn’t experience an allergic reaction to the product.
- Applying the sunscreen properly — Apply sunscreen to your pet’s hairless areas and where the skin pigment is light such as their abdomen, groin, and nose base. Avoid applying sunscreen around your pet’s eyes.
- Reapplying sunscreen — Reapply your pet’s sunscreen every four to six hours and after they have been in the water.
Cooling pet vest
If your pet enjoys hiking and other strenuous activities, consider outfitting your four-legged friend with a cooling vest, which may help prevent them from overheating. Cooling pet vests are available in many varieties, including:
- Evaporation-based cooling vest — These products create a large surface for evaporation. You pour water on the vest’s water-absorbent material, and the water evaporates gradually to help keep your pet cool.
- Cooling vest with ice inserts — For thick-coated pets, a cooling vest that you place in the freezer can help keep them cool. However, do not outfit your pet with this vest type if your four-legged friend has a thin coat, because the icy vest may cause them discomfort or damage their skin.
- Reflective vest — These vests keep your pet cool by reflecting the sun and do not need water. However, a reflective vest doesn’t actively cool your pet. The garment only slows the temperature increase caused by heat radiation.
Cooling pet mat
If your pet likes to take naps on tiled floors or over air-conditioner vents, they may appreciate a cooling mat. These products come in several models, with some offering orthopedic support to help senior pets who have achy joints. To choose a cooling mat that will be appropriate for your pet, consider these factors:
- Chill — Mats offer various cooling levels. Ice-based mats are the coldest and are best for thick-coated pets. Gel mats offer the same amount of cooling as a cool tile floor. Minimalist and orthopedic cooling mats feel similar to a pillow’s cool side.
- Durability — Consider your pet’s personality when choosing a mat. You want a mat that can withstand their playing and chewing habits. If your pet is an avid chewer, avoid gel mats because if your pet ingests the gel, they can experience gastrointestinal (GI) upset.
- Size — Ensure you provide your pet with a mat that fits their size.
- Portability — Gel and minimalist mats are the easiest to transport because they usually fold and don’t need refrigeration.
- Washability — You can easily clean a gel mat by wiping it with a damp cloth. Other mat types have removable covers that you can launder.
Pavement can reach dangerous temperatures on hot days, putting your pet’s paws at risk of burning. If you can’t avoid hot pavement, fit your pet with booties to protect their paws.
These products will help your pet stay cool and safe this summer. If your pet experiences a heat-related issue, contact our Juanita Hills Animal Hospital team, so we can get your furry pal back to enjoying the summer fun as quickly as possible.