15 Tips for Keeping Pets Cool and Comfy This Summer

Whether we share our lives with a dog, cat, gerbil, ferret, budgie, or bearded dragon, we love our fur babies and want to care for them. Still, when the weather gets hot, our pets may not cope as well as we do.

As the temperatures rise, our pets may struggle with the heat. Flat-faced dog breeds may have breathing issues, hot surfaces can cause painful paws, and even birds need a little shade.

As pet parents, it’s our responsibility to keep our pets cool and comfy during a hot summer, and we can do that on a budget with a few simple strategies.

Based on our experience living with multiple pets, we’ve chosen the 15 best ways to keep your pet cool and happy this summer.

1. Cooling Gel Pad

Image Credit: Dog Rescue.

These cooling gel pads are magical. They work by absorbing a pet’s body heat when they sit or lie on the pad. The heat dissipates, the pad is comfortably chilled, and your pet feels cool and refreshed.

It may take a few tries before your pet realizes the benefits of the pad, but once they know how it works, they’ll push you off it. It’s essential never to leave a pet unsupervised with the gel pad in case they chew it.

2. Cooling Vest

Ruffwear Swamp Cooler™ Dog Cooling Vest
Image Credit: Ruffwear.

If your pet is a sun worshipper, you may consider investing in a cooling vest. They’re primarily suitable for dogs. Good luck trying to get a cat to wear one. The vests keep your pet cool and comfy with evaporative cooling technology.

Soak the cooling vest in cold water and then fit it on your pet. Don’t leave your pet unsupervised when wearing the vest.

3. Set Up a Small Pool or Sprinkler

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If you have a garden, buy a small child’s pool that is robust enough not to shred from exuberant splashing and sharp claws. Place the pool in a suitable spot and let your pet have fun.

Change the water daily or every other day and monitor your pet’s activity. Alternatively, set up a sprinkler system.

4. Frozen Chews And Enrichment Toys

Image Credit: The Nylabone Store.

Many robust, fun, and suitable enrichment toys and chews for dogs are available in pet shops or online. Fill a hollow enrichment toy or chew with a delicious doggy treat, such as dog-safe peanut butter.

Your dog will have many hours of enjoyment, and it will help keep him cool. Ensure you get the right size so your dog cannot swallow the toy.

5. Icy Treats

Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking Homemade Dog Ice Cream
Image Credit: Taste Buds Entertainment LLC.

We love eating ice cream on a hot day, and our pets enjoy icy treats. You can buy pet-friendly ice cream or give them frozen fruits or freeze suitable veggies.

Always check that any treats you offer (especially human food) do not contain xylitol, which is highly toxic to dogs. Check with your vet or chat with a pet nutritionist about what icy treats are best for your pet.

6. Make Sure Your Pet Has Shade

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If you don’t have a tree in the garden, put up a garden umbrella or use a canvas shelter. Natural shade is best, and the temperature is cooler under a tree or something with dense material.

A shade protects your pet from UV rays and helps prevent overheating. Your pet may alternate with time in the sun and then recover in the shade. Wherever the shade is, put a bowl of water there.

7. Walk During the Coolest Time of Day

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Avoid walking your pet during the hottest time of the day. Remember that what heat feels acceptable to you can cause distress to your pet and potentially heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Ideally, walk your pet early in the morning or late at night when the sun has gone down. If it is sweltering, avoid walks altogether, as your pet will be tired from managing his body temperature.

8. Protect Your Pet’s Paws

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Before taking your pet for a walk, step outside and touch the pavement or tarmac road. Place the back of your hand flat on the surface and assess if it is too hot for your pet to walk on. Hot surfaces can cause your pet’s paw pads to burn, which can cause pain and discomfort.

Stick to walking on grassy areas where possible, or leave a walk until temperatures have cooled down.

9. Carry Water With You When Out With Your Pet

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Be prepared. Pets can overheat surprisingly quickly as they cannot sweat through the skin as we do. Therefore, carrying water wherever you go with your pet is essential. You can buy a water bottle with a bowl or take these items in the car.

Taking a cooling gel pad or vest with you is also a good idea. In an emergency, you are better equipped to help your pet recover.

10. Turn On The Air Conditioning

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Open windows on a hot day may not be enough to keep your pets cool, especially if you have birds or small furries in cages in the home. If you don’t have air conditioning, keep the curtains closed and consider blackout linings to shut out the heat.

Another option is to set up a fan in the pet’s room or their favorite spot.

11. Keep Water Topped Up at Home

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Ensure your pet can access fresh water at all times. For caged animals, change the water frequently so it stays cool. For loose pets, have a water bowl in several rooms and put a bowl in the shade in the garden.

It’s best not to offer icy cold water, as that can cause tummy ache, but water from the fridge is acceptable.

12. Don’t Clip Your Pet’s Coat Too Short

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It’s natural to assume that clipping your pet’s coat short will keep it cooler in the summer, but that’s not necessarily the case. Most long-haired cats and dogs have an undercoat, a layer of dense fur that insulates their bodies during the winter.

This layer prevents your pet from overheating during the warmer months by keeping cooler air next to its skin.

13. Brush Thick-Coated Cats & Dogs To Minimize Undercoat

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Suppose you own a pet with an exceptionally thick coat, such as a Siberian husky, Alaskan malamute, or Samoyed. Brushing helps reduce the unusually thick undercoat that traps warmth.

Because of their dense coat, dogs like huskies are happier in the cold, can tolerate temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit, and can quickly overheat during the summer.

14. Use Pet-Approved Sunscreen

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Some pets enjoy lounging in the sun but may have spots on their body without fur, such as their tummy. Thankfully, there are pet-approved sunscreens for cats and dogs with SPF 30.

You can also buy nose and paw balm to prevent pink-nosed pets from getting sunburned noses. Apply sunscreen as necessary and repeat after your pet goes swimming.

15. Never Leave Your Pet In The Car

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In warm weather, the inside of a car can quickly turn into an oven. Even if you only plan to nip into a shop to pick up some milk, leaving your pet at home is best. We cannot anticipate something delaying us from returning to the car, causing suffering to the pet.

If someone sees your pet in the car on a hot day, they may call the police or break the glass to remove your pet.

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