The summer months can be extra hard on your furry friends as they struggle to keep cool. They have risks of dehydration and heat exhaustion just like humans do so it’s important to help them regulate their temperatures. While blasting the air conditioner sounds like the easiest way to keep them comfortable, that can prove both expensive and taxing on your energy usage. Here are six energy-saving ways to keep your pets cool:
KEEP YOUR PETS HYDRATED
Keeping your pets fully hydrated will help them fight off heat exhaustion and allow you to save on cooling costs. Give your pets access to plenty of water by filling up bowls and fountains regularly with cool water. When you leave the house, make sure there’s extra water so they never run out.
AVOID AFTERNOON WALKS
Just like you don’t go for a jog during the hottest part of the day, don’t take your dogs on walks during this time, either. Instead, take them out in the early morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler. This way both of you aren’t tempted to blast the air conditioner to cool down after exercising.
USE A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
The recommended temperature for pets is around 75-80 degrees. Blasting the air conditioner will not only empty your wallet but it also impacts the overall peak energy usage in your community. Get a smart thermostat so you can be sure it doesn’t get too hot (or too cold), especially when you’re not home.
ADJUST LIGHTS & ELECTRONICS
Turn off ceiling fans, lights and the TV when not in use. Ceiling fans feel great for humans but because pets have fur and don’t sweat, fans don’t make much of a difference to them. Lights and TVs not only drive up energy costs but also raise indoor temperatures, causing your AC unit to work even harder.
CREATE SHADY SPOTS
A great way to keep your energy costs down is to take advantage of cooling properties that landscaping can provide. Trees, shrubs and climbing vines planted strategically around your home can not only cool it by up to five degrees but also offer shade to your furry friends. If you don’t have an outdoor area, be sure to create shaded areas inside by closing the blinds or curtains. Keeping the hot sunlight out will also help lower the indoor temperature.
INSTALL A DOGGY DOOR
If your pet must be outdoors, try installing a doggy door they can use to come inside when they get too hot or need cold water. It’s called a doggy door but cats can use the same access point as their tag-wagging cousins, too. In fact, some cat owners build outdoor areas for their indoor cats (catios) so they can safely go outside to enjoy nature. An added bonus is the doggy door saves energy because you won’t be letting out cool air every time they need to go outside.
TRY A COOLING MAT
Some pets love their cooling mats, which is an energy-saving alternative to cranking up the AC. The pressure-activated cooling gel inside the mat is not only a cushion but also keeps your pet comfortable and helps regulate their body temperature during heatwaves.
Using these energy-saving tricks will keep your best buddies cool but it’s still important to know what to watch for if they experience heat stroke. Talk to your veterinarian if you notice extreme lethargy, difficulty breathing or excessive thirst.
If you have a dog, check out these additional tips for saving energy all year.