How To Keep Your Pets Cool During a Heatwave

Pug Staying Cool Under the Sun by Swimming in a Pool

Scorching hot temperatures are upon us! With this Southern California heatwave, the heat can potentially be dangerous for not only you but your pets too.

When Is It Too Hot for My Pet?

Here are some guidelines for keeping your pet in safe indoor and outdoor temps.


PetMD recommends keeping your home at or below 80 degrees in the summer to keep your pets safe. Dogs can overheat at 81-85 degrees, and rabbits are at risk of hyperthermia at 85 degrees and above. Cats have higher body temperatures and tend to be comfortable in warmer temps than other pets, but they need to keep cool, too.


Asphalt and concrete (such as on sidewalks, roads, and park trails) may be much warmer than the outdoor temperature, especially in direct sunlight. For example, an air temperature of 85 degrees can heat the asphalt to a whopping 136 degrees!

To test the temperature of the ground for yourself, put your hand on the ground for 10 full seconds. If it’s too hot to do this, it’s too hot for your pet to stand or walk on that surface.

A Special Note About Cars

Never leave your pet in a hot car, even with the windows down or AC on.

According to the Humane Society, when it’s 85 degrees outside, it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside your car to reach 102 degrees — and that’s with the windows cracked.

After 30 minutes, the car can be as hot as 120 degrees, putting your pet at major risk of illness or even death. Instead of leaving them in the car, create a cool space at home where they can wait for you, or take them with you to an indoor or outdoor space at a safe temperature.

Fun without the Sun

Keeping your pet safe from the heat doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun with them! There are many ways to keep your pets safe, cool, and happy.

With Cold Treats

Just like we love ice cream in hot weather, our pets love cool treats, too! Here are a few things to try:

  • Unsweetened yogurt can be frozen for a feline-safe cold treat. Or try blending their favorite wet food with some water; freeze to make meaty popsicles!
  • Try freezing no-salt-added chicken or beef broth into broth cubes for a savory treat. There’s even doggy ice cream for your canine pal to enjoy!
  • Blend up your favorite frozen fruit with just enough water to loosen it up; now you’ve got a bird-safe fruity sorbet. Add bird food for a crunchy topping.
  • Try frozen vegetables and fruits for a cooling snack for your bunny! Or freeze some fruit inside ice cubes for a sweet hydrating treat.

Use A/C over Fans

While fans can provide us some relief in hot weather, they aren’t as effective at cooling off dogs, cats, and rabbits, whose fur tends to lessen the cooling effect of blowing air.

Fans may be helpful for pet birds, but the fan blades can pose a danger, as can excessive drafts or rapid temperature changes.

Overall, it’s best for your pet when you keep the temperature of the surrounding room cool, rather than trying to blow cold air directly onto them.

Play With Or In Water

In general, it’s safe for dogs, cats, and rabbits to swim in clean water. That said, some pets don’t enjoy it; never force them!

If your pet does enjoy a dip, make sure you can quickly reach them in an emergency.

While many wild outdoor birds can swim, most indoor pet birds, such as parrots and parakeets, cannot. Instead, they may enjoy being lightly misted with water or petted with a cool damp cloth. They should not be left alone around pools, bathtubs, ponds, and other bodies of water where they can easily drown.

Keep Them Hydrated

Even in a cool room or outside in the shade, keeping your pets hydrated is essential! Keep plenty of cool, fresh water nearby. When leaving the house, bring water bottles and a portable pet bowl for hydration on the go.

Don’t Forget to Keep Your House Cool!

Check your cooling systems before hot weather strikes; maintaining cool indoor temps is one of the best ways to combat the heat.

But it also helps to load up on fresh and frozen produce, water, sports drinks, and ice cream (who could forget ice cream?). A well-stocked house is among the best ways to prevent overheating and dehydration.