Should You Leave the Air Conditioning on for Your Pet?

photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com

Experts

Should You Leave the Air Conditioning on for Your Pet?

March 25, 2014

According to vets at the ASPCA as well as many we interviewed, it’s crucial, that’s right, crucial to keep pets comfortable in inclement heat to keep them healthy.

 

Come on...think about it.  How would you like to wear a fur coat all summer?


Dogs and cats cool themselves by panting, which exchanges warm air from their lungs for cooler outside air.  So, when the outside air is hot and humid pets absolutely cannot cool themselves, leading to risk of heat stress and dangerous exhaustion. 

 

When you leave your pet at home during the day, the temperature should be set between 78 and 80 degrees, which is an appropriate comfort level for most pets.  The basement is another option, as lower levels are usually cooler naturally...but use a thermometer to double check.  Circulation is also important so leave on a fan, upstairs or downstairs.  And don’t forget plenty of fresh water.  Humans get dehydrated..so do pets, and easily.  Leaving an extra water bowl during heat waves is always a good idea.


Special Care Pets
Naturally extra care is of the essence for elderly pets, overweight pets (and humans, you need to reverse that situation) and any pet with special health needs.  Use the air conditioning at all times for these pets. 

 

Pets with short muzzles, like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats cannot effectively pant, leaving them especially susceptible to heated conditions.  These pets absolutely, positively need to be kept in air conditioned spaces so they can avoid heat stroke.

 

And Then There’s Common Sense
You know your pet.  Keep an eye out and adjust the temperature accordingly.

 

If your pet has made the AC vent a home you might want to dial it down a bit.  Lose a few degrees, close the blinds and throw an ice cube in the water bowl. (But test the ice cube trick first...some love it, some freak out).   And while cats are somewhat more heat tolerant as they reduce their daytime activity more than dogs, long haired breeds are very adversely affected by heat. 


If possible, walk your dogs early in the morning and at dusk, not in the heat of the day.  Chill out on the running completely, as dogs don’t stop even if they are overheating and a dangerous situation can sneak up on you.

 

A great rule of thumb.  Ask yourself, am I, non-fur coated human comfortable at this temp?  Then mentally throw on a fur and ask again.


Stay healthy. Stay Cool.  And above all, enjoy summer fun with your pets safely!

photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com

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