6 Hacks to Help Pets Beat the Heat

Petplan veterinarians share simple tricks to keep hot dogs (and cats) cool.

As summer temperatures soar, so do incidents of heat-related health risks for pets. Are pets prepared to beat the heat? According to Petplan pet insurance, the answer may be surprising.

Corgi Puppies in July

In an effort to promote pet summer safety, Petplan released six simple steps to help pet parents keep their furry friends cool. Petplan claims data shows that heat stroke, dehydration and hyperthermia are common summer health risks for pets. When these hazards send pets to the vet, they can cause a deep dive into pet parents’ pockets with treatment costs averaging $2,606 for heat stroke, $398 for dehydration and $913 for hyperthermia. And the risk of heat-related incidents is nearly twice as high for brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs.

It can be dangerous when pets’ body temperatures get just a few degrees above normal. Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation, keeping four-legged friends safe in warm weather can be a breeze. Here are six easy ways pet parents can help their pets beat the heat:

  • Chill out with a tasty treat. Freeze low-sodium chicken broth in a popsicle mold or ice cube tray for dogs and cats to enjoy on a hot day.
  • Hose down hot pavement, patios and porches before letting your pets outside. A little water could go a long way toward keeping paws cool and avoiding paw pad burns. Pet parents can also run cool water over their dog’s feet.
  • Say yes to ice water. Adding ice to pets’ water bowls creates a game for curious canines—they’ll bob for ice cubes and stay cool and hydrated in the process!
  • Cool the crate. If your pet will be crated while you’re away, try freezing two-liter water bottles and placing them on top of the crate. They’ll give off cool air and help keep the spot cool.
  • Wear a cold compress. A refrigerated wet bandana will help keep Fido cool and stylish this summer—this is especially effective because of the temperature receptors around dogs’ necks.
  • Make a splash. A backyard baby pool is a great way for pets to stay cool (and it’s fun too!). Some cats may even choose to toe the water.

Petplan’s vets also stress that pet resting areas should be kept cool, indoors and out.

“For cats and dogs seeking relief from the hot weather, provide outdoor areas of shade with open air tents, awnings and umbrellas,” says Petplan staff veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Maniet. “Indoor resting places can be kept cool with air conditioners or fans, and by keeping the curtains closed so there is no direct sunlight. Also, bare floors in the house are great spots for pets to lie down and cool off.”

If a pet gets overheated, it’s best to aim for a gradual cool down rather than an abrupt immersion in ice or cold water. Try using the hose, a gentle shower or wet towels first. If a pet shows signs of hyperthermia like excessive drooling, a very red tongue or gums, weakness, dizziness or vomiting, take cooling measures immediately and get to the vet. Heat stroke can be fatal within 15 minutes, and even when it isn’t deadly, brain and organ damage can result from exposure to extreme heat.

To learn more about protecting your pet’s health this summer (and beyond!), visit www.petplan.com.

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