PLAYING IT COOL: HOW HEAT AFFECTS SENIOR PETS

09/26/18

 

Imagine going for a walk around the block while wearing a heavy winter coat in the middle of a devastatingly hot summer. Are you sweating just thinking about it? That’s how your dog feels in the heat when you don’t keep their coat well brushed! And let’s not forget about our feline friends. Cats, especially those that enjoy napping in the sun, can also suffer from overheating and even sunburnt ears. No wonder our pets tend to be a little more lethargic during the summer months and warmer weather!

While all pets experience the effects of rising temperatures, senior animals require special care in warmer weather. After all, they’re more susceptible to heatstroke.

It’s not just super hot days that pet parents need to be mindful of. Even a summer day that’s on the milder side poses a risk.

So, what’s a pet parent to do? No need to panic. Here’s how to keep your cool while helping your senior pets beat the heat.

Cool Environments

As your pet matures, they’ll likely be spending less time outdoors in the heat and more time catching an afternoon nap in the house. That being said, some dogs won’t necessarily “ask” to come inside when the temperature rises – especially when there’s fun to be had outside!

Remember: You are your pet’s best advocate. If you observe excessive and loud panting, that’s your cue to remove your pet from the environment and bring them indoors.

Your pet likely has a favourite spot to retreat to. For some, it’s the basement. Others can’t resist the cool tiles of a bathroom floor. No matter the spot they choose, crank the AC or pop a fan near them to keep things comfortably cool.

If you’re at an outdoor location like a park, try to move your pet to a shaded area and have them lay down to cool off. Running and jumping will only tire them out even more.  

Refreshing Treats

Clean drinking water is a given. In addition to regularly changing your pet’s water throughout the day, drop a couple ice cubes into the bowl. If the bowl is placed outside, make sure it’s in a shaded spot away from the sun’s rays.

For an extra special treat, you can also whip up a batch of frozen pupsicles. They’re refreshing and delicious!

Shady Spots

If your older pet will be joining you outside for some backyard fun, be sure to provide some shade for them. Trees are always a great option. You can even create a canopy by hanging up tarps. Think of it like creating your pet’s own personal oasis!

Walking Schedule

Rising temperatures don’t mean that you need to do away with daily walks! Walking is great exercise for senior dogs. During bouts of warm weather, the only thing you need to adjust is your walking schedule. Avoid going out at peak times when the sun is at its strongest and the pavement has been baking in the sun’s intense rays. Nobody wants burnt paws! Instead, consider walking first thing in the morning or just before sunset when the temperature is cooler.

Cooling Clothes

If you’re a parent to a lovable senior dog, consider investing in a cooling vest. Put the vest on your dog, splash some water on it, and breathe a sigh of relief as the specially designed fabric begins to work its magic. Talk about one cool pup!

Vet Intervention

Never put your pet in a situation that will put them at risk for heatstroke. Sadly, the consequences can be fatal. If your pet shows signs of heatstroke (vomiting, loud panting, increased heart rate, etc.), take your animal to the vet immediately.

Keep your senior pets safe and healthy by preventing heat exhaustion before it happens. Stay cool!

 

 

Sources:

https://elginvethospital.com/2013/12/30/protect-your-senior-pet-from-summer-heat/

http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/keep-your-senior-dog-cool-in-the-summer-heat

https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/how-to-tell-when-your-cat-is-overheated