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10 ways to cool down your pets (so you can watch the footie without worrying)

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

The only thing hotter than England’s 6-1 defeat against Panama is the #weather at the moment. As someone who loves any excuse for a G&T, I’m really into the #footie – but it doesn’t stop me or my #pets suffering from the #heat. I’ve compiled 10 #hacks to help you keep your pets #cool and #comfy this #summer, based on my own experiences! That way, the furbabies are safe from the heat and you can enjoy the rest of the #worldcup without worry.

Visit the bottom of the page for a summary #infographic, perfect for sharing on social media!

1. Cool jackets and bandannas

Cool jackets and cool bandanas, like this one found on zooplus.co.uk are the ‘hot’ product this summer. I worked at a dog show on the first May bank holiday this wear – yes the realllllyyyy hot one – and these were everywhere! The products are moistened with cold water and stay damp and cool for hours. As doggos stopped by to greet me, I was really impressed at how cool these were and how well they helped regulate body temperature.

Positives – they stay cool for hours and can be worn on walks or at home.

Negatives – they (jackets or bandannas) don’t offer much in the way of belly-cooling and wouldn’t work as well on thick coated dogs.

DIY alternative – Dampening the coat with cool (NOT COLD!) water.

Suitable for – Dogs, sizes usually range from XS to L.

Click the picture to visit the zooplus.co.uk site where they are currently on sale.

2. Cool mats

An alternative to the cool jacket or cool bandanna is the cool mat. Guess what – it’s exactly what you think it is. I’ve been using cool mats for years, in the form of a soaked towel on the decking for the dogs. This item however is much more fit for purpose, as it contains a cooling gel that does not need cooling or freezing before use. Coming in a range of sizes, this is a great way for pets to regulate their own body temperature as they can lie on it at their own convenience.

Positives – easy to use, easy to store, no additional upkeep other than a wipe down. Suitable for indoor use.

Negatives – not as easy to take on walks, some dogs will need training to lie on it.

DIY alternatives – A large towel soaked with cool (NOT COLD) water – warning! This one will get your pet wet and is therefore less comfortable. Ceramic tiles for smaller mammals.

Suitable for – dogs, cats, rabbits (as long as there is room for them to move off of it).

Click the picture to visit the zooplus.co.uk site where they are currently on sale.

3. Frozen water bottle

As seen in the picture from binkybunny.com, the frozen water bottle is simply that – a plastic bottle re-filled with water and frozen. This placed into an enclosure will allow many types of pet to self-regulate their body temperature by laying next to or on it when they are feeling hot hot hot (ole-ole-ole-ole).

The condensation on the outside of the bottle will often be loving licked by small animals too – how awesome!

Positives – cheap, easy, effective, re-usable, suitable for many pets.

Negatives – plastic is chewable! condensation will make substrate damp.

Suitable for – almost any type of pet, as long as they have the option to move away from it. Do not use for reptiles; their environments should allow them to thermoregulate.

Click the picture to visit binkybunnies.com and read the rest of the article on keep buns cool.

4. Frozen enrichments

Enrichment for animals refers to anything that encourages natural behaviours, preventing boredom. Food puzzles and toys are the most commonly seen type and this is no different. Offering frozen enrichment such as the frozen dog yoghurt treats, frozen veggies, frozen toys, frozen gravy etc. will give your pet a long lasting, satisfying and cooling treat. Try filling a ‘kong’ with pet-safe foods and freezing before offering to your pets!

Positives – long lasting, cooling, easy to make, cheap, lots of versatility.

Negatives – can get messy! melting treats will get over bedding and some substrates will stick to it and could be ingested.

Suitable species – this can be adapted for almost all pets! We even used this for our marmosets, tanukis, coati mundi and skunk. Get inventive and freeze treats, foods and toys suitable for your pet – you can even hang them up if you freeze in some pet safe string!

Not suitable for – small mammals such as guinea pigs and rabbits or reptiles/ amphibians/ ecto-thermic (‘cold blooded’ animals).

Click the picture to visit Gemma’s awesome frozen treat recipes.

5. Remove excess hair

Brushing your pet to remove excess hair will help them stay cool. Brushing a pet’s fur can help remove excess hair, winter coats and trapped undercoat – all which can contribute to over-heating. Double coated dogs should NOT be clipped, but brushing out the undercoat with the correct tool will help maintain a healthy coat and prevent matting in the undercoat. For coats that can be clipped, shorter coats can help keep animals cool. Small animals and livestock that have long hair around the genitals should be dagged (sheep) or trimmed to prevent matting and faeces getting stuck which causes fly strike, and also helps keep skin cool.

Positives – simple and effective, adds to bonding and keeps pets looking tidy

Negatives – can cause stress, can cause coat damage if not done properly

Additional advice – ask your vet and groomer for advice on what brushes you can use on your pet to maintain their coat at home regularly, or between grooming sessions.

Suitable species – dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, sheep, goats, cattle, horses, any animal that sheds fur should be brushed, and any woolly pets or long haired pets can be trimmed.

6. Provide fresh, cool and running water

Animals are naturally drawn to flowing water sources rather than still water sitting in a bowl. It is believed that this is due to natural instincts that tell animals running water is more likely to be fresh and clean, therefore not harbouring water-borne diseases found in stagnant or sitting water. How many of you have cats that won’t drink from a bowl, but love a dripping tap? This water fountain is a great solution to encourage drinking, and keep cats hydrated in the heat. This is so important to kidney health and overall homeostasis.

Positives – not too large or expensive and very effective. Comes in a range of styles and colours.

Negatives – requires filters which are specific for each unit, requires power to run.

DIY Alternative – you could keep a tap dripping but this is likely to waste water and is not recommended.

Suitable species – ideal for cats but no reason why dogs cannot benefit also.

Click the picture to visit the zooplus.co.uk site where they are currently on sale.

7. Shady and indoor space

Hutches, aquariums, vivariums, cages, etc. when left in direct sunlight will heat up significantly. If you wouldn’t leave your dog in a hot car (which you 100% would not!) then why would you leave your guinea pig in a hot hutch? By bringing pets indoors where you can control the temperature better or providing outdoor animals with shade, you are letting them thermoregulate and preventing heatstroke and hyperthermia – both are dangerous, fatal, and easy to occur in the summer!

Positives – pets kept in cooler and shaded areas will be less likely to suffer from heat related stress and illness

Negatives – the sun moves – always supervise your pets and check on them regularly to make sure they always have access to shaded and cooler areas.

Suitable for – every pet should have an option to move to a cooler area.

Click the picture to visit the zooplus.co.uk site where they are currently on sale.

8. Fans

Now it might seem obvious but yes, a fan will cool down your pet! Unlike using a fan to cool yourself down however, you have to consider a couple of things… You need to ensure there is no way your pet can come to harm. Can the wire be chewed? Can the fan be knocked over or off the side? Can you pet reach it? Are the blades covered? Can your pet get the case off? Also, you need to make sure that any pet in a contained area can get away from the direct draft caused by the fan.

Positives – Can cool down a room and an animal relatively easily and safely.

Negatives – have to be plugged in, can be a tripping or wire-chewing hazard.

Suitable species – any pet that can be moved indoors. Room cooling will even benefit aquariums and vivariums as a last resort.

DIY alternatives – opening windows and doors for a through-draft for passive ventilation. Using an electric fan is the cheapest form of active ventilation, outside of fanning the animal with a book…

9. Chilled sand bath

Sand baths are an amazing enrichment and are also vital to the health and welfare of a range of pets. Chinchillas, degus, gerbils, jirds, chickens, aviary birds, emu, quail, hamsters, jerboa and even pigs enjoy a sand bath, and chilling the sand beforehand in the fridge will offer them a natural way to cool down in the heat!

Positives – encourage natural behaviours, animals can use at their own preference.

Negatives – chilling sand can sometimes cause it to get damp and clump and this is not suitable for pet use.

Suitable for – see my previous comment! Even dogs and cats have been known to enjoy sand!

Another note – animals mentioned should already have access to a sand bath – ensure it is clean and suitable for pets, and it is sifted regularly to ensure it is not clumpy, soiled or damp.

10. Terracotta pots

Cooling gels are fab but ceramic and terracotta materials are also very good at staying cool in warm temperatures. I mentioned earlier that a ceramic tile is great for small animals to lay on, but terracotta pots also offer some additional benefits. A terracotta flower pot on its side not only provides a cool surface, but can also be a hide, offering privacy to an animal, and with added bedding materials, a nest.

Positives – cheap, easy to find, a range of sizes available.

Negatives – breakable and not easy to adapt – they will need to stay in the shape you buy them.

Suitable species – cats, small mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, exotic mammals. Upright or on the side, flower pot or dish style, there are a range of styles!

Additional advice – be sure to place somewhere they wont fall and break.

I hope you have enjoyed and learned something from my list. As I mentioned before, these are all tried and tested by myself, and I have tried to include something for all types of pet. It is difficult to adapt some of these for larger animals like horses, but as a basic rule please ensure your pets have a constant fresh supply of cool water, and access to shade in hot weather.

Please visit my facebook and twitter to share my infographic and let other pet owners know of these cool ideas.

And on a final note – It’s coming home! C’MON ENGLAND! (now that Germany are out… I had them in the sweepstake!)

#worldcup #hacks #summer #cool #pets #footie #heat #weather #infographic #comfy

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