Whew, it’s hot outside! If you are hot, just think how your dog or cat must feel with all that fur! But, they love to be outside, and dogs have to go outside to go potty, right? So, here are some tips and tricks to keep your furry four-legged friend cool on hot days.

Water

The number one thing you need to provide for your pet is water. It does not matter if you have a dog or a cat, they need water. And plenty of it, especially when it gets hot outside. You may be tempted to freeze their water so it will stay cold, and that is a great idea, but if you are going to do that, make sure you put out a bowl of fresh water as well. You don’t want Fluffy to have to wait for her water to melt to get a drink because that may be a while and she may not enjoy the way the ice feels on her tongue. So, put out two bowls; one with fresh water and one with frozen or you can just add some ice cubes to the water.

Shade

Yep, shade is important to pets too. Just like you, pets need to get out of the sun once in a while. If you do not have any shade trees in your yard, you can provide shade with an umbrella, tarp, or by throwing an old towel or blanket over a table or chairs. And if you have any old wood or pallets laying around, you can make a shady spot for your pet really easy. Seriously, your pet does not care if they do not have the fanciest outdoor awning or just an old tent, as long as they can get out of the sun for a while.

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Dog Houses

Dog houses are great for both dogs and cats. In fact, these are really awesome for all kinds of animals in all kinds of weather. During the winter, my husband and I made some pet shelters out of old Styrofoam coolers for the stray cats, and we had opossums and raccoons in there too. Make sure the house has plenty of ventilation for the summer, though because otherwise, it will be hotter in there than outside. Just like leaving your dog in a hot car, a hot enclosed space with no air is like an oven. If your dog house does not have any ventilation, cut a hole for a window or just use an ice pick (or another sharp pointy thing) and poke some holes around the sides on the top and bottom. They also sell fans and air conditioners for doghouses but some people think that is going a bit too far. I think it is kind of cool.

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Water Features

Any kind of water feature is an excellent idea for your pet in the summertime. You could use a kids swimming pool, an old washtub, even a plastic tote that you buy at Walmart. Put some water in there for your furbaby to lay in and wait for the fun. Make sure you keep it in the shade, so the water does not get too hot and be sure to have your camera or phone ready to get some good video and pics for Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat. A pond or fountain is good too, but Fido may scare the fish if you have any.

Cooling Beds, Blankets, and Other Weird Things

You can buy just about anything on Amazon. Yes, they even sell cooling coats, shirts, towels, mats, and blankets. You can even buy a cooling bandana, but they seem pretty easy to make yourself so I don’t know why you would want to buy one. They also have cooling collars called the Chill Collar that is pretty cute, but you can probably make that too. And a cooling towel? Throw a wet towel in the freezer for a while, and that will work just fine. You can also wrap a bag of frozen vegetables or ice pack in a towel and put it in Fido’s bed or dog house. Speaking of beds, get your pet an elevated bed so the air can circulate underneath it and it also doubles as a shady spot for your fur buddy to lay in.

Grooming

Many people think it is good to shave their dog or cat for the summer. However, this is not a good idea because your pet’s skin can get sunburned just like ours can. Of course, grooming your pet by thinning out their fur and getting rid of any loose fur is fine but do not shave it all off unless you want Fido to get a sunburn.

Cats Want to Be Cool Too

Don’t forget about your cat. She wants to be cool too. Although I think it is better to keep your cat indoors, some cats enjoy being outdoors sometimes and they need to stay cool in the summertime. Most people with cats just send them outside and let them roam. Don’t forget to put out some water for her and a shady spot to lay. She will thank you for it.