Dog Days of Summer Affect Cats, TooPublished June 16, 2011
With the recent Floridian record-setting high temperatures (at least in our neck of the woods), I have to confess that our energy-efficient central air conditioner has become not only one of my best friends, but also my husband’s and our two kitties. Our cats really appear to thoroughly enjoy the refreshing and cool environment, which is made obvious when they snuggle up together, purring gently with their front paws intertwined, engaging in their daily scheduled afternoon naps.
With outdoor temperatures and the oppressive humidity rising, you can bet your bottom dollar that our cats are thankful that they are not outdoor kitties, having to endure the wretched weather. You see, since we have the luxury of storing our winter coats and wooly sweaters in mothballs, our companion animals are stuck with having to wear fur coats.
With the dog days of summer rapidly approaching, it is up to us to provide our fur-family with a safe and pet-friendly environment in order to protect them. So here, as a reminder, are some suggestions designed to keep our pets comfortable and maintain their robust health.
At all times keep easily available a source of cool, fresh water in spill-proof containers. It's a good idea to have several bowls of water strategically and conveniently placed in and around the home. During the heat of the day, pets' fluid requirements increase significantly. Most pets will appreciate having a couple of ice cubes added to their water dishes, which will cool the water temperature and keep an appropriate amount of water in the bowl.
Try keeping your pet’s activity level low during the hottest parts of the day. The optimum time for exercise is in the early morning or after the sun has set, and, of course, not directly after feeding. If possible, try to walk dogs in grassy areas, since the hot pavement can burn their sensitive paw pads. With indoor-outdoor cats, instead of allowing them to roam unsupervised, providing a screened-in area with access to shade, fresh water and a litter box will be most appreciated.
Heatstroke in pets can be a life and death emergency, therefore it is crucial to learn the symptoms. In dogs, watch out for vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, increased heartbeat and pale gums.
Cats display the same symptoms of heatstroke as dogs. While dogs pant to keep cool, cats do not normally pant. Observing this behavior in a feline is a major tip-off that the cat is in distress. Always have your vet’s phone number and directions to the nearest animal emergency hospital handy.
Should your pets develop these symptoms, cool them down immediately by immersing them in a tub of cool water, wrap them in wet towels and take them to your veterinarian right away.
What other measures do you take to keep your pets protected from the heat? Please share them in a comment.