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3 tips to keep your pets cool and a summer safety resource

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As Chicago’s summer heat peaks, pets need respite as much as their people. If you’re a heat-lover who delights in 90-degree days, remember that your furry pets probably don’t. They may like to sprawl in sunny spots, but they need cooling as much as—or more than—you when the weather gets hot and humid. These three tips will keep your dog, cats, ferrets or other domestic mammals from suffering in excessive heat conditions:

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  • Offer a pile of ice to chew on in hot weather. Freeze treats inside chunks of ice for extra interest.
  • If A/C is not available, make sure your pet has access to a cool tile floor or move it to a basement room.
  • A plastic bottle filled with water and frozen gives small heat-sensitive mammals like ferrets a cool cuddle-spot for relief from the heat. They may also enjoy a dish of ice chips.

Also, has committed to helping keep pets safe this summer by providing on-going, easy-to-remember safety tips and warnings about common summer hazards — including disaster preparedness with your pet. Some come with downloadable poster reminders. Three expand on the specific theme of heat safety and your pet:

  • 5 Fun Alternatives to Leaving Your Dog in the Car
  • Keeping dogs, cats and horses safe in hot weather
  • 4 Easy Steps to Help Dogs in Cars

My only quibble with the last one is that it doesn't mention that the need to rescue dogs from cars applies only in hot weather, and it might lead well-meaning people to try to “rescue” perfectly comfortable pets. If the temperature is in the low 60s to mid 70s and the day is cloudy or the car is parked in the shade, the dog will probably be fine.

Remember, the rule of thumb is, if YOU would be comfortable in the car, so will your dog be. By the same token, if the car gets too hot for you as soon as you park and the fan or A/C turns off, you can’t safely leave your dog (cat, ferret or bird) in the car either. Although a heat-loving reptile might enjoy it … for a while. Even reptiles can overheat—but that’s a topic for another time..