I’m the kind of responsible cat mom that leaves the window A/C running on a hot day when I’m not at home and then worries about a power outage. A few years ago, in a fit of over-compensation, I bought a battery-operated fan so my cat and I would be prepared for the Power Fail Apocalypse. You can imagine my vindication when the power actually went out last month! I dug the fan out of the bottom of my shoe closet and by the time I figured out the batteries, the electricity was back on. I still came out ahead because it turns out battery-operated fans are ridiculously convenient for following my cat from room to room– and blasting her with air whenever she looks ready to break a sweat!
Alas, there are better ways to keep your pets cool in the summer. After nearly 20 years of being a pet owner in the Southern California heat (and without central air conditioning, which would just seem like cheating at this point), I’ve learned a few tricks in keeping my pets cool. Here are 11 tips to help your pets beat the heat:
1. DO get creative with your pet’s water supply.
Make your pet’s water bowl into a gorgeous planter with this simple and fun DIY from the Sunny Day Family blog. Make sure to have at least three places in your home where you pet can drink water if it’s hot outside. A cat water fountain was a big hit with one of my cats who liked to swat at the moving water. It was a double win because she had fun and ended up drinking more water! We’ve found a fantastic guide to choose the best water fountain for your cat if you want to take that route.
2. DO make frozen pet treats.
You can find the best recipes for pet treats online with ingredients such as peanut butter, pumpkin, and yogurt. Always make sure the human foods you give your pets are vet approved, and don’t overdo the treats. Overweight pets can suffer the effects of heat more than fit ones.
3. DON’T leave your pet outside.
Staying in the backyard on a hot day can lead to serious dehydration. Keep them in an air-conditioned part of your home with access to plenty of water, and preferably in an area with tile flooring which feels cooler to the touch.
4. DO get some fresh air.
Once the temperatures have cooled off, look for nearby dog parks or recreation areas where Fido can get some exercise. Some KB Home communities offer walking trails and parks for homeowners so you can get to know your neighbors while keeping your dog active and healthy.
5. DO use a smart thermostat.
If you’re lucky enough to have central AC, you can make sure your home is chilled out even while you’re at work or running errands. And if your house has a multi-zone system, you can increase air conditioning in selected sections of your home. So much easier than trailing a cat with a portable fan!
6. DON’T forget to protect those paws.
Hot sidewalks and streets can burn your pet’s sensitive paws. Take care to protect their feet with booties if the temperatures are soaring. Try this fun and easy dog bootie DIY— it works for cats too if you make them smaller! Also, how adorable are cats with tiny mittens on?
7. DO get a pair of pet sunglasses.
You can be the talk of your community by outfitting your pet with sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays. You can buy sunglasses that are specifically designed to fit the shape of a dog’s or cat’s head so they won’t slip off or irritate. Or, you can make your own with this dog sunglasses DIY that’s inexpensive and easy to create!
8. DO give your pet a break from the heat.
We recommend a portable dog pool that can easily fit in any size backyard (to be enjoyed after temperatures have dipped, of course).
9. DON’T leave your pet in a hot car.
Not even for just one minute! (And no, cracking the windows does not help.) Studies have shown that the temperature inside your car can rise almost 20 degrees in just ten minutes. (Keep in mind, this means your car’s interior will be 20 degrees HIGHER than the outside temperature.) Better to leave your pet at home while you run errands.
10. DO keep your curtains closed.
Consider using wood blinds which keep out even more heat. KB Home also partners with Hunter Douglas, whose shades block harmful UVA and UVB rays. On really hot days, I use a blackout curtain liner designed to block sunlight. It attaches with magnetic strips so it’s easy to put up and take down.
11. DO have lofty aspirations.
Attic insulation will keep your home (and in-door pets) cooler in the summer (and warmer in the winter). LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing is standard in all KB homes. In addition to keeping your home cooler, it could potentially save you up to 17 percent on energy bills.
How do you keep your pets cool when the temperatures soar? Got any fun tips? Share your ideas and pics with us on Instagram at @kbhome. Explore how could a KB Home help you keep energy costs running low while you and your furry friends stay cool.