Here are some ways you can help your dog or cat stay cool and comfortable:
1. Understand how their bodies work
We all know that dogs pant to cool themselves. But did you know that cats pant, too? This is an evaporative cooling system, like sweating in humans. As your pet pants, the air evaporates saliva on his tongue. Cats use grooming as a way to cool down, too.
Something else most people don’t know is that cats and dogs also have a few sweat glands between their toes. So one thing you can do is give him a cooling footbath, or provide a wading pool for overheated paw relief. (Many dogs like to lie in wading pools, too, so be sure the water level is appropriate for your size pooch.)
One thing to avoid: ice. It may seem like a kindness to ice down your pet or add ice to their water, but that can actually be dangerous because it lowers their temperature too fast. That restricts blood flow, hindering their body’s ability to cool itself.
2. Know the symptoms of trouble
While you’re playing, look for signs of slowing or fatigue. Panting is an obvious indicator your dog or cat is overheating or becoming dehydrated. The hotter he gets, the more he pants, making himself hotter instead of cooler and increasing his heartbeat and respiration rate. Look for difficulty breathing or excessive drooling. In cats, look for excessive grooming. In extreme cases, heat exhaustion can cause bloody diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, even death.
3. Modify outdoor activities
• Walk your dog and engage in outdoor play in the morning or evening, rather than the hottest part of the day. Hot concrete, asphalt, and sand can burn their pads, so walk where there is grass and stay in the shade if possible. Many merchants and outdoor cafés provide water for dogs, but always carry a bottle of water and portable water dish. Hydration is crucial (for you, too).