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How to Keep Yourself and Your Pets Cool in the Summer Heat

By Vidhi

Updated - May 9, 20248 min read

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Ah, summer. The season of sunshine, barbecues, and lazy afternoons spent poolside. But with those glorious rays of light also comes the dreaded heatwave – a period of scorching temperatures that can quickly turn a delightful day into a sweltering ordeal. But fear not, fellow sun-dwellers! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to stay cool, hydrated, and keep your summer spirit sizzling (without overheating, of course).


Hydration: The Unsung Hero of Heatwaves

Let's be honest, water is the MVP of summer survival.  When the mercury rises, your body loses fluids at an alarming rate through sweating.  This dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even more serious health complications. The solution? Drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty. Aim for eight glasses a day as a minimum, and adjust based on your activity level and the intensity of the heat. 


But water isn't the only option. Here are some additional hydrating heroes to add to your summer arsenal:

Electrolyte-Enhanced Beverages: During strenuous activity or prolonged exposure to heat, consider supplementing your water intake with sports drinks that replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.  However, be mindful of the sugar content and choose options with minimal added sugar.

summer drink

Image courtesy: India mart

Fruity Infusions: Jazz up your water with slices of cucumber, lemon, berries, or mint for a refreshing and flavorful twist. 

summer drink

Image courtesy: Healthy foodie girl

Frozen Treats: Who says hydration can't be fun?  Whip up some homemade popsicles with fruits, yogurt, or even coconut water for a cool and delicious way to replenish fluids.

summer drink

Image courtesy: Times food


Dressing for the Heat: Ditch the Darkness, Embrace the Breeze

When it comes to summer fashion, ditch the dark clothing that absorbs heat like a sponge.  Instead, embrace light-colored, loose-fitting garments made from breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.  These materials allow for better air circulation, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. 


Here are some additional sartorial tips for beating the heat:

Hats are your friends: Protect your head and face from the sun's harsh rays with a wide-brimmed hat. Straw hats offer excellent ventilation and a touch of summer style.

summer hat

Image courtesy: Harper Bazaar


Sunglasses are a must:  Not only do sunglasses shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they also help prevent headaches and squinting, which can contribute to dehydration.

summer sunglasses

Image courtesy: The manual



Consider cooling accessories:  Look into cooling vests or neck wraps that utilize evaporative cooling technology to keep you feeling fresh.

cooling accessories

Image courtesy: Amazon


Seeking Sanctuary: The Power of Shade and Cool Air

The midday sun can be relentless.  Limit your time spent outdoors during the peak heat hours (typically between 10 am and 4 pm).  Seek refuge in shaded areas whenever possible, whether it's under a tree, an umbrella, or a patio awning. 


If you can, spend time in air-conditioned spaces like libraries, malls, or even public cooling centers.  Taking a cool shower or bath throughout the day can also provide a refreshing reprieve from the heat. 


Cooling Techniques: Beyond the Basic Shower

While a cool shower is a classic way to beat the heat, there are other techniques to explore:


Mist Yourself: Carry a small spray bottle filled with cool water and mist yourself periodically throughout the day, focusing on areas like your face, neck, and wrists.

face mist

Image courtesy: The front row


Cooling Towels:  Dampen a towel with cool water and drape it around your neck or forehead for an instant cooling effect.  Reusable cooling towels are also available and can be re-activated in the freezer.

cooling towel

Image courtesy: NBC news

DIY Cooling Stations:  For your furry (or feathery) friends, consider creating a DIY cooling station with a shallow wading pool, kiddie pool, or even a damp towel laid out in a shaded area.

summer pool

Image courtesy: Micoope


Adjusting Your Activity Level: Listen to Your Body

During a heatwave, it's wise to listen to your body and adjust your activity level accordingly.  Strenuous exercise outdoors puts additional strain on your body and increases your risk of heatstroke.  Opt for early morning or evening workouts when temperatures are cooler. 


If you must be outside during the day, prioritize short, low-impact activities like walking or light gardening.  Take frequent breaks in shaded areas and don't hesitate to reschedule more strenuous activities for cooler days.


Keeping Your Pet Cool: Pet Care Advice! 


Hydration is Key for Pets Too:

Just like yourself, ensure your pet has constant access to fresh, clean water. Keep their water bowl refilled regularly, and consider adding ice cubes to keep it cool. You can also try offering small amounts of low-sodium chicken broth as an additional source of fluids.

pet hydration

Image courtesy: American physical society

Adjust Walking Schedule:

Avoid midday walks during the hottest part of the day. Opt for early morning or evening strolls when the sun isn't as intense. Stick to shaded areas as much as possible, and keep walks short and sweet. Consider using a portable water dispenser to keep your pet hydrated on the go. Consider this pet care advice before taking your pet out for a walk.

pet walk

Image courtesy: Flavours

Provide Shade and Cooling Options:

Ensure your pet has access to a cool, shaded area outdoors, preferably with good ventilation. A shaded porch, a doghouse with proper ventilation, or even a pop-up tent can provide much-needed relief. Consider creating a DIY cooling station with a shallow wading pool, kiddie pool, or even a damp towel laid out in a shaded area. Fill the pool with a few inches of cool water (not ice cold) to allow your pet to wade in and cool down. 

pet in shade

Image courtesy: PDSA

Never Leave Your Pet in a Hot Car:

This is a recipe for disaster. Even with the windows cracked, car interiors can heat up to dangerous levels very quickly. Leave your pet at home in a cool, air-conditioned space if you can't take them with you. If you must run errands with your pet, leave them at home only if they have access to a cool, shaded area and plenty of fresh water. Consider this pet care advice before going to errands for yourself.

pet in car

Image courtesy: Human society of sedona

Grooming for Comfort:

One of the most important pet care advice is brushing your pet regularly helps remove excess fur, keeps them cooler. However, avoid shaving double-coated breeds – their fur actually acts as insulation and protects them from the sun. A light trim around the paws and belly can help with air circulation, but avoid shaving these areas completely.

pet grooming

Image courtesy: My life pet insurance

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets:

Be aware of the signs of heatstroke in your pet, which can include excessive panting, glazed eyes, excessive drooling, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you suspect heatstroke, immediately move your pet to a cool area, wet them down with cool (not cold) water, and seek veterinary attention immediately. 

pet heatsrtoke

Image courtesy: Zimmerman Veterina


Bonus Tips for a Cool and Happy Summer with Your Pet:


Freeze Treats for Pets: Freeze some pet-safe treats like diced bananas, applesauce, or broth cubes for your furry friend to lick on.  This is a fun way to keep them cool and hydrated. 

Pet Sunscreen:  While not all pets need sunscreen, some with light-colored fur or hairless breeds can get sunburned. Opt for a pet-safe sunscreen specifically formulated for animals and apply it to areas like the nose, ears, and paws. 

Heatstroke First-Aid Kit: Consider putting together a first-aid kit for your pet that includes cool towels, a spray bottle filled with cool water, a pet thermometer, and a small amount of pet-safe electrolyte solution (consult your veterinarian for recommendations). 


By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for yourself and your pet during a heatwave. Remember, prevention is key.  Stay vigilant, prioritize hydration, and don't hesitate to seek shade and air conditioning during the peak heat hours. With a little planning and awareness, you can both beat the heat and create lasting summer memories.  So, grab your water bottle, sunscreen, and a playful spirit, and get ready to conquer the summer heat – together!