The sweltering heat is upon us. With May and June being the hottest months of the year in sunny, tropical Singapore, it’s important for us pet owners to know how to keep our furry friends cool and comfortable at home, lest they suffer from dehydration and heatstroke.
To prevent them from overheating and your electricity bills from skyrocketing (from the A/C), here are some ways to cool down your pet cat or dog:
Note: For small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and birds, move their cage to a well-ventilated, shaded area and drape a cool, damp towel over the cage without covering it entirely to help lower the surrounding temperature. Provide plenty of cool water as well.
1. Homemade ice treats
Source: Australian Dog Lover
Just like how we enjoy a lovely popsicle on a hot day, your pet would appreciate an icy treat as well! Simply freeze some of their favourite treats in water, or create an ice lolly made up of frozen tuna brine or no-salt chicken broth to keep them cool and satisfied.
2. DIY Cooling “mats”
There is a wide range of pet cooling mats available in the market, but if you’re in need of an immediate solution, you can DIY a makeshift cooling “mat” instead. For this, all you need to do is to place a pack of frozen vegetables or bottled water wrapped up in a blanket or towel in your pet’s favourite nap corner! If your pet is feeling warm, it will naturally appreciate this cool bolster.
Here’s a tip for freezing the bottle of water: don’t fill the bottle to the brim as water will expand when frozen!
3. Ice cubes
Source: Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash
Besides being a cooling treat for pets to lick or a good way to make their drinking water refreshingly cold, ice cubes can also be rubbed on the paws of your pet, which absorbs and loses heat too.
On top of that, it makes for a great toy to play with for a couple of minutes — provided you don’t mind your floor getting wet! Make sure to keep an eye on your pet while it’s playing with the ice cube though, because if it’s too large and hard for your pet’s teeth, it may cause tooth damage if chewed on excessively.
4. Invest in an elevated pet bed
If you have a dog, consider investing in an elevated pet bed. When the days are warmer than usual, an elevated bed allows air to circulate underneath, which helps your pooch to stay cool. If you have a pet cat, you may also invest in such a bed or take it upon yourself to build a handcrafted cat hammock!
5. Wet towels
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your pet is panting slightly more than usual. This calls for a more immediate, effective way to cool down your pet, and you can do so by stroking your pet with a damp washcloth or towel. This is especially good for felines who hate getting wet, but if you’ve got a canine companion, you may give it a good rinse in the bathroom with cool water!
6. Groom regularly
Source: NordWood Themes on Unsplash
Excess fur can trap heat, so make sure to brush your furry critter daily to get rid of all the dead hair! Do take note to never shave double-coated pets though, as this might do more harm than good instead. The coats are there to keep your pet warm during cool weather and vice versa, and the topcoat is often made up of tougher guard hairs that protect your pet from the sun’s harmful rays and insulates them from the heat.
7. Stick to cooler rooms
Try to dedicate one of the cooler rooms in your home to your pet. This means a room that doesn’t receive direct sunlight, or even better, has marble tiled floors. Close the curtains and blinds, and if possible, turn up the air conditioner!
8. Postpone playtime
Even if your pet loves a rousing game of tag or tug-of-war, it’s best to wait until the end of the day when it’s cooler for these strenuous, heart-pumping games. Instead, provide other forms of mental stimulation with obedience training or nose work toys which can be easily found in a nearby pet store!
Source: Vanserline Vandenberg on Pexels
It’s very easy for pets to overheat unnoticed until it’s too late. To prevent this, keep a close eye on your pet always in hot weather and watch out for signs of overheating, which includes:
- Heavy, continuous panting or rapid breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Dark red tongue or gums
- Skin hot to the touch
- Glazed eyes
- Lethargy and/or collapsing.
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these symptoms, immediately encourage your pet to drink some water, shift them to a cooler room with ventilation, and contact a vet in Singapore immediately for further instructions!