This past week, countries all over the world have experienced a record breaking heat wave. Extreme heat can be very dangerous, causing injury and even death - for both humans and pets! You could say it is more important than ever to be mindful of your furbaby’s environment and comfort, especially if you are traveling to new or unfamiliar places. Here’s how to help keep your pet cool while you travel this summer.
Prepare for takeoff
Traveling with pets is a little bit like traveling with small children: you’ve always got to be a little over prepared. Before you hit the trails with Fido, make a checklist and be sure to consider all the ins and outs of your trip. You obviously know they’ll need food, treats, and something to play with. But there are some extras that become vital to keep your pet cool, if you’re headed into warm climates.
What is the weather going to be like?
Before you even start packing for your trip, take a look at the extended forecast for your destination. You want to make sure you’re packing a reasonable wardrobe for yourself (flip flops or boots? Swim suit or light jacket?), but the predicted weather will also help you prepare properly for your pet, and know what you’re up against.
Here comes the heat
If you live in a nice, moderate or cool climate, and are traveling somewhere much warmer or drier, you may need extra help to keep your pet cool! Even if you normally live in a warm climate, traveling in the heated summer months always seem to take a toll on the body’s hydration. Be sure you have these essentials on hand to keep your pup cool and hydrated.
Portable water bowl and cool, clean water
A collapsible bowl is perfect for adventures where you may be carrying lots of supplies (camping, hiking, beach trips). Consider carrying a cooler, or even a small lunch box, to keep your water cool. Hot water is better than no water, but won’t do a whole lot to cool down an overheated pup. Be sure your pup doesn’t drink too fast (he’ll want to, if he’s super thirsty), and let him rest for a few moments after drinking water, to avoid bloating.
Fan or cooling mat
If you’re going to be hanging out somewhere (like the beach or a warm campsite) where you’ll be without A/C, bring an alternative to help cool your pet. Pet’s don’t sweat the way we do, and can’t cool themselves quite as efficiently. Small, portable fans are great - for you, too! And most cooling mats are pretty portable, and will give your pet a nice, cool place to chill. All pun intended.
Shoes or booties (yes, really)
Extremely hot surfaces can burn the sensitive pads of your pet’s paws. If you’re going for long walks outdoors in extreme heat, it can’t hurt to protect your pet’s feet. Also, hiking and walking in lots of outdoor environments can pose a danger to your pet’s paws. Sharp rocks or shells (especially oyster shells), splinters or even discarded glass or other litter can cause fun-ending injuries for your pet. Be aware of hazards, and if things look a little rocky or very hot, see if your pet will tolerate a pair of booties.
Go for a dip
Going for a swim is a great way to help a pup cool down. In my experience, most cats don’t care for it, but you’re welcome to let them try (and please let me know how it goes). Even just dipping their sweet little paws in some water will help cool them down. Just be sure you keep your pet super safe while they frolic in the water. Brush up on my water safety tips here.
Let them set the pace
You may be an experienced hiker or trail master, but if this is your pet’s first outdoor adventure, you may need to slow down a bit. Very young or very old pets are especially at-risk for exhaustion, as are those who are a bit out of shape. Be sure you stop regularly for water breaks, and to let your furbaby rest in the shade. You may even consider bringing a specialized pet carrier, that will allow you to give them a rest while you keep moving.
Bringing your pet on a family trip is so much fun, and can be so rewarding. Plus, it beats the heck out of leaving them at home with a sitter, or in a kennel. Some pets need more care on the road than others, especially if they have special needs or health issues. My travels over the past few weeks has brought me so much insight, that I'd love to share with you. If you want to chat about bringing your pet along on your next trip, and what you can do to keep them safe and healthy, I'd be more than happy to help you plan your pet's trip! Let's schedule a coaching call, or catch me on Facebook Live every Thursday at 12:30PM EST.
Travel with furry friends is a great bonding experience, and it is truly a blast (just ask Pepe and Mona). Just remember to keep your pet cool, put their safety and comfort first, and you’re bound to thoroughly enjoy this extra time with your favorite furball. Oh, and don’t ever let your dog navigate - cats have a much better sense of direction.