For many, summer means long and lazy afternoons in the sun. However, animals with heart disease frequently suffer from heat intolerance. Overheating can complicate respiratory problems, and cause progressive issues. With summer finally in full swing we’ve compiled a list of ways to cool your furry friend down when they seem to be struggling!
- Wrap ice packs in a favorite blanket and let them lie on it. Your pet’s temperature is partially regulated externally by their pads, and they’ll benefit from exposure to cold surfaces.
- Dip their paws in cold/cool water. Note: your cat may be less appreciative of this cooling method! Alternatively you can use a cool/cold rag to wipe your pet down, focusing on their abdomen, paws and ears.
- Put ice cubes in their water.
- Invest in a kiddie pool for the backyard.
- Keep your pet comfortable in a designated “cool room”. Keep one fan running constantly. During the day keep blinds and drapes closed to minimize sun exposure. At night place a fan in the window facing into the room to pull in cold air. Consider investing in a standing or window AC for this room.
- Use hoses, kiddie pools, or other bodies of water (ex. ponds, rivers lakes) to cool pets whenever feasible.
- Avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day. If leashed walks are a part of your daily routine try to complete them early in the morning or late in the evening (1-2 hours past sunset). If you have to exercise your pet during the afternoon, consider investing in protective booties for your pets’ paws, as hot asphalt can easily burn their sensitive feet.
If you have been advised to monitor your pet’s resting respiratory rate (RRR), we encourage you to continue this. Keep in mind respirations may be elevated during the day. The RRR will be more accurate when taken at night while your pet is resting or sleeping. If your pet’s resting respiratory rate is elevated for an extended period of time at night or in conjunction with symptoms such as coughing, lethargy or a decreased appetite, please contact our office, your primary care veterinarian, or an animal emergency hospital to ensure your pet is stable.
We hope this helps you keep your pet cool! Cardiology Northwest wishes you and your furry family a fun and healthy summer.