On a warm, sunny day, it’s natural to seek out a porch, shade tree, or head inside to relax after spending time outdoors. With the intense summer sun and high UV index, it’s wise to protect your skin and avoid the heat with several rest breaks in the shade. The same is true for our animal friends, although we sometimes think they’re more resilient than they really are.
For this edition of summer pet safety, we focus on why shade is an important consideration and offer up tips on how to ensure your pet’s health and safety this season.
Why is Shade Necessary for Pets?
Pets don’t have the same advantages as humans when it comes to dealing with heat, and they have the additional burden of a fur coat. To some extent, the coat does help wick away moisture and protect the skin, but their primary mode of cooling down is through panting. When temperatures start to soar, this is not enough without lots of water and the ability to seek shade.
Sadly, heat stress and heat stroke are common among pets because people don’t always notice that their pets need to stay cool as much as we do. Being left outdoors too long without adequate cover can set your pet up for a sunburn at best and an emergency at worst. Pets need plenty of fresh, clean water and shade in order to deal with the heat of the summer sun.
Solutions for Creating Shade
During warm, sunny days, the hope is that your pet can be indoors with the AC or fan running. Pets should never be left unattended in hot or inclement weather, so the indoors is the best option during the day or any time when you’re away.
Creating Shade Away From Home
Whether you’re on a walk or spending the day at the beach, try thinking ahead about how much shade will be available and how you might improvise or plan ahead. Here are some ideas to provide some much-needed relief:
- Choose a new daily walking route that includes a lot of big shade trees and cool grass for stops along the way.
- Parks and other natural places are typically good choices for finding shade, either with natural canopies (beautiful trees!) or through man-made structures.
- Bring your own shade when heading to the beach by using a large umbrella big enough for you and your pet. You can even bring a canopy that’s specially made for pups, like the Breezy Bed or the Pawhut mesh canopy/bed.
- Our doggy daycare is a fun place to spend the day and avoid the intensity of the sun.
Please note, never use your car as a place to stow your pet out of the sun. This is extremely dangerous, as cars can heat up in only a few minutes, putting your pet’s life at risk.
In the Backyard
If your pet likes to relax outside, even when it’s hot, you can offer cool relief with a variety of creative backyard canopies and shade. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Does your cat love to be outside? Catios are all the rage these days, and there are several varieties from which to choose.
- Plant non-toxic trees in the yard to create your own oasis. It will also help reduce your monthly electric bills.
- Offer a dog house equipped with its own cooling station, like this dog house air conditioning unit.
- Love to camp? Why not give your pet their own tent or teepee that can also be used for the backyard.
Summer Pet Safety
There are so many options when it comes to outdoor shade, many of which can be DIY projects. The important thing is that shade is essential to summer pet safety. We’d love to learn more about your creative designs and how you plan to keep your pet cool this summer. Please give us a call!