You’re sweating, I’m panting, the cats are sleeping in the shade. We all have ways to cope with the hot summer temperatures.
People sweat, which helps cool your skin. A dog’s main way to cool down is panting. Moisture evaporates from our tongues, noses, and the lining of their lungs as we pant. As this air circulates, it helps cool us off. Cats conserve energy, seek out cool surfaces (sleeping on a tile floor), and groom (saliva evaporates off their fur, cooling them down).
Although we’ll do all we can to stay cool and hydrated, there are things your pets need from you when it’s hot outside.
Water. Cold, fresh water. People don’t like drinking water that has been sitting around and has gone warm and stagnant. We don’t like that either. Keep it cool and fresh, and it will help us stay cool and fresh as well.
Don’t assume outdoor pets can find water in ditches or puddles. You need to provide clean, safe water for all your pets and animals. Ditch water can have parasites, which will create a whole other set of issues (diarrhea will only make us more dehydrated).
How do you tell if your pet is hydrated? The best way is to pull up the scruff (back of our neck) and see if it immediately flattens back down. If it doesn’t, that tells you we need more water.
Being inside is best when temperatures are soaring. If that’s not an option, here are some suggestions: A doghouse is often stuffy and has no air flow- so don’t assume it’s an okay shelter from the sun and heat. You should make sure we have shade with airflow such as trees, a canopy, or umbrella. It’s also great to have cool grass (set the sprinkler to run periodically), a pool, and/or fans (even better when attached to a misting line). We dogs here at Second Chance love our plastic pools. They’re not only fun to play in but are our favorite spot to lay in the afternoons.
Walking us in the afternoon is obviously not the best idea. But even when the air temperature is cooler, the sidewalks and streets can be hot on our tootsies. Test it with the back of your hand for five seconds (one Mississippi, two Mississippi…). If it hurts you, it will hurt me. Walk us on grass if possible or wait until things cool off before going around the block.
We don’t need to go to the grocery store with you. Hot cars are death traps. Even when parked in the shade with the windows cracked, temperatures inside a car in the summer can quickly reach dangerous levels.
Let us be lazy. We need to conserve energy in the heat. If you typically take your dog for a run or have crazy play sessions with your cat- consider giving it a break in the heat. The more energy we expend, the more water we need and the more heated up we become. Let’s just relax, stay cool, and watch the butterfly that is floating around my yard. I think I’ll take a nap now.
My name is Nicklaus, and I’m a 1-year-old shepherd/lab mix. I’m a happy boy, and they say I have great manners for a youngster. I know “come”, “sit”, “lay down” — and I’m eager to learn more! I’d love to be your hiking and adventure buddy! Come meet me today!
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 28 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.