Summers in Los Angeles can get unbearably hot and it can be a struggle just to keep pets cool. For Eryn Elliot, a professional dog walker and pet sitter, keeping her clients comfortable and safe is her top priority. Elliot started her business, Miss LA Pet Nanny, in 2006 and provides a multitude of services aside from walking and sitting. She offers several suggestions to keep pets cool during the summer months that any pet owner can do.
Miss LA Pet Nanny
Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills Areas
Most people don’t know that dogs and cats sweat from their paws. To cool them down, all you have to do is dab them with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol though. Cool water sprayed on their bellies, underarms, and head can also help. Cats can keep themselves cool by licking and grooming. Being a dog handler in Los Angeles, Elliot takes a crew of dogs to the dog park daily. In the hot weather, they stay cool by taking breaks in the shade, having fresh cool water available, and some of the dogs will dig to find a cool dirt hole to cool off in.
She also recommends to not shave dogs or cats in the summertime as their coat can help regulate body temperature, and also provides UV protection. Haircuts are good, but keep at least one inch of hair. Brushing them is another way to cool them off and promote healthy skin and coats.
To ensure your favorite pet doesn’t get overheated, try to limit activities to the early mornings and evenings when temperatures are cooler. Use sunblock on the ears of cats and dogs with light pigmentation and try to stick to shady areas. Be mindful of walking on sidewalks and asphalt though as the pads on a pet’s paws may be tough but they don’t offer lasting protection on 100-degree cement. Your pet can quickly suffer third degree burns on their paws if forced to stand or walk on hot cement for too long. If your dog is alternating lifting their paws off the ground or is pulling towards the grass or shade they are trying to tell you they are in pain.
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Elliot suggests removing throw rugs from bathroom and kitchen floors as well. The linoleum or tile will be much cooler than carpeting and can bring a source of relief to your pet. Don’t be surprised to find your cat hanging out in the sink or bathtub because of this. You can also fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them. Put them in the bathtub or on the bathroom or kitchen floor. This will create a cool spot your pet will gravitate towards.
Many of Elliot’s clients live in apartment buildings with poor ventilation which can also exacerbate the heat and make it tough for a cat or dog to cool off. Using multiple fans will help circulate air and if you set them at different levels, it will create cross breezes and lower the temperature. If you have a ceiling fan, use that as well. You can also use a swamp cooler effect by putting a bowl with water and ice cubes in front of the fan. This acts as a makeshift air conditioning unit. Make sure though to never leave it on unattended and close all blinds and curtains before the temperature starts to get hot. This trick will help keep the rooms cooler for longer. Blackout curtains for rooms that get direct sun are a great investment. These curtains can drop the temperature as much as 10 degrees.
Another great trick is getting a kiddie pool, which is a terrific way to get your dog to cool off and have some fun at the same time. When the water temperature rises, simply add some ice. For cats, soak a towel in cold water and wipe them down as you’ll have a tough time getting them in a pool! They may struggle and plot your death while it’s happening but they’ll appreciate it when they realize how much cooler they feel.
An easy way to lower your pet’s body temperature is to keep your pet hydrated during hot weather. One way to ensure your pet drinks more water is to put bowls in different areas. This works especially well for cats who like discovery. Adding ice cubes to the water dish will help lower their body temperatures. Another way is to feed them cold food. For your canine pal try frozen treats like cut up hot dogs.
Under no circumstances should you leave your pets in a parked car during the summer. Every summer hundreds of dogs die horrible deaths because people underestimate the temperature. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can quickly rise in a matter of minutes causing brain damage, heat stroke and death. If your dog cannot go inside with you then leave your dog at home. This includes taking your dogs to cafes. If you do dine with your dog, make sure the table you choose has shade for them.