Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to keep your pet cool and safe in the heat of a summer day at home.
Every pet parent knows to NEVER leave a dog in a hot car, but how often do you think about whether your house is too hot for your dog to be left home alone? It’s not something you may have given much thought to, but you should.
Air conditioning is great when you have it in your house or apartment – especially when it’s working! But not every has central air or are only able to cool one or two rooms in their home. How can a pet parent assure his or her dog is safe and cool enough at home to prevent health issues from overheating when your dog is left home alone?
If you and your pet don’t live in an air-conditioned home, there are ways you can assure he is safe and happy at home in the heat of a summer day.
- Make sure there is always adequate water available. Why not take a couple of your dog’s water bowls and freeze them? The water will melt throughout the day and your dog will have access to cool, refreshing water. She may even like licking the ice better than drinking the water.
- Place water bowls in different places around the house so your pet has access in various locations and in case one bowl gets emptied. Give your dogs more water than you think they could drink in a day.
- If your pet stays outside in a fenced in yard in the heat of a summer day (something we do not recommend or promote) he needs to have access to water, shade, and shelter. If your pet is outdoors you need to make sure the water is plentiful and placed in various locations in the fenced in yard in places they can’t get tipped over or get hot in the sun.
- When you’re outside with your dog, give him access to a children’s wading pool. If your dog loves water, he will love a lie down in a cool swimming pool! Don’t let your dog swim or have access to the swimming pool when he’s home alone, though.
- Buy a cooling mat or cooling collar for your dog. These unique items cool your pet. With the cooling mat, your dog cools off when she lays on it. A cooling collar keeps your dog’s head and neck cool and helps keep her body temperature regulated. Consider an elevated bed as that will allow for air circulation around and under the bed and if you place a cooling mat on it you are helping keep your pet even cooler.
- Turn on a fan. If you have a room that is air conditioned, place a fan at the entrance of the room and draw the cooled air into the rest of the house. If you don’t have air conditioning at all, place fans in various locations in the house and create a cross breeze to cool them down. Use both oscillating and box fans to distribute and move the air. Look for fans that have “auto shut offs” in case the dogs knock them over they will turn off immediately. Another way to cool the house is to place bowls of frozen water in front of the fans and the breeze over the water will distribute cooler air. If you have a dog who is brachycephalic — has a flat-shaped face — like Pugs, Pekingese, or Boston terriers, among others; their panting is not as effective as in other breeds and that makes them more susceptible to heat stroke.
- Close the curtains so the sun doesn’t heat up the house during the day.
- Rethink crating your dog. If you have a home without air conditioning it could be far too hot for your dog in an enclosed crate. If you have to keep her confined while you’re away, invest in a larger crate that could offer better air flow. Place fans by the crate but don’t have the air blowing directly into your dog’s face all day as that could get uncomfortable. Another issue that could arise with the crate is if your dog drinks the water you put in with her and she has no way to get any more water during the day – this could lead to potential health issues.
- Consider taking your dog to a doggie daycare so he isn’t home alone in potentially dangerous heat. Hire a pet sitter or dog walker to check in on your pet throughout the day.
Your dog does have his own natural cooling system. When he pants it helps cool him down, but on a day when it’s sweltering heat and humidity, it is difficult for them to regulate their body through pure panting.
When you’re leaving your dog home alone on a sweltering hot day, you want her to relax because that will keep her cooler than if she’s having zoomies! Turn on DOGTV, place her bed and her water bowl and treats in front of the television and let her chill (literally!) in front of our scientifically-developed programming that will keep your dog company while you’re away.
What do you do to enrich your dog’s environment when he is home alone and you want to keep him cool and calm? Have you tried DOGTV? Sign up for a free 14-day trial of DOGTV to help enrich your dog’s environment to alleviate his stress and separation anxiety.
Hey Shelter and Rescue Operators and Organizations, ask us how playing DOGTV in your facility will help to calm dogs and alleviate their stress while they’re waiting for their forever homes. Also, grab your free 14-day trial of DOGTV to play at the shelter. We know you have air conditioning for the pets in your care, but turning on some DOGTV will help your charges thrive in the dog days of summer!