Secrets of Cool Cats and Dogs

June 24, 2011 | By | Comments (5)

How are your pets faring in the summer heat? Mine is covered from head to toe with wavy black hair, and black retains the heat, so if you’ve guessed that we’re in for a long hot summer, you’ve guessed right. The Cole Porter song “Too Darn Hot” comes to mind.

What does he do to compensate? Well, he gravitates to the coolest spots in the house, such as an air-conditioned room or the cool, tile bathroom floor, conveniently located by an open window.

dog sleeping on tile floor

Monkey chills out on the cool tile floor

He’s also been known to start panting heavily or to slam on the brakes when we go for a walk. I’ve considered renaming him Mr. Donkey as opposed to Mr. Monkey.

Cats have been known to take matters into their own hands, or paws as it were, as well. Buddy explores the tub, and Spark fits snugly in the sink basin (photos below). Both locales share cold-to-the-touch porcelain and the delectable possibility of running water to drink.

cat in bathtub

Buddy tests out the tub

cat in sink

Spark snuggles in the sink

It’s important to keep your pets hydrated, especially in hot weather. One way to encourage cats to drink more water is to buy them a cat fountain. The moving water proves fascinating. Dogs can enjoy pet fountains, too.

There is no shortage of pets products on the market for keeping your pets cool. The website of Doctors Foster and Smith lists many ideas, including a cooling bandana for dogs and a cooling dog bed. (Note to self: this may be just the trick for reclaiming room on the bed!)

Dr. Bonnie Brown of Gotham Veterinary Center in New York offers another solution — a pragmatic approach that’s easy on your wallet to boot. “Instead of allowing dogs to get overheated and then applying cooling products, don’t take them out in the middle of the day in 90 degree weather,” she says. “And don’t tie them up in the sun.” This simple wisdom is what I count on her for, in addition to her medical knowledge.

Other free cooling solutions:

  • placing a filled water bowl nearby
  • adding ice chips to your pet’s water bowl
  • soaking towels in cold water, wringing them out, and applying them
  • wrapping an ice pack in a towel so it doesn’t directly touch your pet’s skin
  • rinsing off your pet’s paws in cool water
  • making sure an accessible shady or cool spot is within reach

What not to do:

Don’t over-exercise your pet in hot, humid weather, and don’t leave your pet in a parked car, even if the window is cracked open and you’re planning to be quick.  (Visit the website: to see how much hotter the temperature can become inside a car. Help spread the word!)

If you’re an urban hound:

For those of you who live in the city — say a certain metroplis made famous on a certain HBO hit series where fashionistas sipped Cosmopolitans and Flirtinis — well then you and your dog are in luck. At the Shake Shack, not only is there a tying post in the outdoor seating area, there is a dog treat on the menu. It is called “The Pooch-ini®.” Given my love of opera, puns, and anything that sounds vaguely Italian, I’d say that’s a fine name indeed. Its price is listed as $3.75. It’s described as “a chilly treat for those with four feet.” Not intended for small dogs.  The scrumptious-sounding ingredients could be an issue for Mr. Monkey and his sensitive stomach. But we plan to give it a try!

What about you? What do you do to keep your pets cool?