Help your animals beat the heat

Simple steps to ensure the wellbeing of your animal in the summer heat.

Summer is here in full force and that means heat! Just like humans, animals experience discomfort during extreme heat, and there are many ways that you can help provide some relief. Here are some tips for helping your animals beat the summer heat.

Water is essential for keeping animals cool. Make sure to have a fresh, clean and cool supply of water available for them. Troughs or dishes should be large enough to hold adequate quantity of water, but easily accessible for the animals.

Animals should have shelter during the extreme heat or at least a shady area. Ideally a shelter would be one that protects animals from the sun and has ventilation so that the wind can cool. If there is poor ventilation in your shelter, you can strategically place fans in the area to increase air movement. Please remember to make sure all electrical cords are out of reach of your animals to decrease the danger of electrocution.

Some animals are at higher risk for heat-related health concerns than others. Those who are at an increased risk include young animals, dark colored animals and animals that are or have previously been sick.

It is imperative to the health of animals for owners to be able to identify heat stress. Some general signs of heat stress are panting, increased respiration rate, increased water intake, loss of appetite, lethargy, increased salivation, and in severe cases, animals may experience unconsciousness.

If you notice that your animals are suffering from heat stress you should move them into a shady, breezy area immediately and offer plenty of cool, clean water in small amounts at a time. You may also consider spraying them with cool water, especially on their legs and feet, or let them stand in water. If there are no signs of improvement after taking these steps, you should consult a veterinarian.

For more information about Michigan 4-H Animal Science Programs, please visit the Michigan 4-H website.

Did you find this article useful?