In the many blogs we’ve written, our main focus has been on how to maintain your air conditioning and HVAC systems to keep your home appropriately warm or cool for the people living inside. However, in many US homes, people aren’t the only residents. Pets, whether they be cats, dogs, or lizards, are extremely common, and unfortunately, the same rules don’t apply to them when it comes to staying warm or cool.
In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the ways you can keep your pets cool in the hot Nebraska summer. While we only have a couple more months left of heat, it’s important to make sure your little animal friends are living in the right conditions. Here are some ways you can make sure that your pets are happy in the summer heat wave:
Provide Cool Spaces In Your Home
While it’s a general rule that you should have your air conditioner on when a pet is present in your home, it helps nonetheless to always have spaces in the home that are nice and cool. When it’s hot, a pet likes nothing more than to find an area where the heat is less pervasive, and of all the ways that you can help your pets to keep cool, this is one of the easiest.
While most homes have natural spaces that create shade and spots to “hide” from the sun, some are so clean, tidy, and organized that there aren’t very many good spots. Here are some things you’ll want to look for in creating a space where your pet can relax:
- Ample shade
- Some kind of overhead covering
- Away from sunny windows
- On a cool hardwood floor
The more hidden away the space is, the better. It provides them a refuge from the hot heat. If your home is mainly open space that has giant windows which let in a lot of sunlight, it’s a good idea to go out of your way to create a space that is cool and cozy for them.
Keep Your Blinds Closed
Although it’s nice to have a bright, illuminated room, you would do well to close the blinds whenever you’re not at home. While it’s cute to see your kitty roll up into a little ball in a carefully chosen sun spot, it’s not what your pet wants all day, and by letting in a lot of sunlight, you’ll allow residual heat to embed itself into other parts of your home. Excessive sunlight can make your hardwood floors warmer, it can radiate from metal appliances in your home, and more. By reducing the amount of sunlight that actually makes its way inside, you will be making your home a little cooler. This is important for your pets, who can easily overheat.
It’s not the worst thing in the world if you want to leave some sunlight peeking through your windows, as pets sometimes enjoy lazing around in the heat. It’s just as important to remember that this shouldn’t be standard for all the windows in your home.
Take Your Pet Outside When it’s Cool
Here’s the deal with pets — their bodily cooling mechanisms differ from ours. Humans are unique among the overwhelming majority of animals in that we sweat. While sweating can be annoying, it’s actually an incredibly important function that keeps us cool and hydrated. Animals, particularly the furry cats and dogs that are most common in American homes, don’t have the luxury of being able to sweat, so hot temperatures are much more taxing for them.
Because of this, you would be wise not to take your pets out for play and exercise during the hot hours of the day. There are a few hours (particularly noon and afternoon) where the sun beats down particularly hard, especially when it’s overhead and there are hardly any shadows to be found. During this time, the heat is not only hard to escape, it also heats up anything that’s able to absorb its heat, such as pavement, cars, metal, and so on.
While you may be accustomed to taking your dog out whenever you want during the cooler seasons, it’s best not to take your dog out during these times because it’s just more heat than they should handle. Instead, go out at a time when the heat is either residing, or when has yet to arrive. This means dusk and dawn. These are great times for your dog to go out and play, and if you’re dealing with a hot home, going back inside won’t be nearly as burdensome for them.
Keep Their Water Fresh, Cool, and Plentiful
Would you relish drinking water if it was always from a stagnant source, accumulating particles, hairs, and other manner of clutter? Would you rather drink from a fresh cool source or one that’s been sitting at room temperature for days? The answer is obvious — you would prefer fresh water every time, and it sure would be nice if it was cool. Of course, you would drink the stagnant water if you had to, but it’s not a stretch to assume you’d be keeping yourself more hydrated if you actually enjoyed the water you were drinking.
If this is true for you, why would it not be true for your pet? Pets like cool and fresh water just as much as we do, and unfortunately, it’s a habit of far too many pet owners to just leave them a bowl that sits around for a few days, only being replaced when their dog or cat has drunk it down to a small puddle.
This is problematic because a pet won’t be as inclined to drink old water, thus keeping themselves less hydrated than is necessary. Here are some ways to improve your pet’s drinking situation:
- Get a small automated fountain for them to drink out of (there are many of these made for pets)
- Change their water multiple times a day
- Keep their water somewhere cool
- Put ice cubes in the water on hot days
- Provide more water than usual
Make Sure Your Air Conditioning System is Fully Functional
Finally, the most important thing you can do to keep your pet cool is to ensure that your air conditioning system is not only functional but actively running so that your pet can spend their days inside a home that is nice and cool. There is no better way to keep your pets cool, and nothing will do a better job at actually reducing your home’s temperature than an air conditioning unit. Fans are serviceable for creating a sense of coolness by circulating air, but they’re much more effective for humans than they are for pets.
At Powerhouse Heating and Air Conditioning, we’ve made it our life’s work to ensure that HVAC systems all throughout Nebraska are fully functional and reliable. We serve areas all around the greater Omaha region. Whether you’re in Blair, Omaha, Fremont, Papillion, Elkhorn, Bellevue, La Vista, or Gretna, we’ll be able to come to your home to assess any problems you might have with your air conditioner.
It’s imperative that your HVAC is in good working order, so we’ll be happy to help you out with air conditioner repair, or even installing a new unit entirely if it is needed. Don’t let your pet suffer in the hot summer weather! Make sure your home is nice and cool. Contact us today for air conditioner repair and replacement!