How to Handle Heatwave for Pets

As Malaysia receives multiple alerts for heatwaves, here are some tips to keep your pet cool with you.

Feeling that heat? It's not your imagination; the weather is scorching hot! MetMalaysia has predicted a Level 1 heatwave spreading from the North Peninsular Malaysia, raising concerns about keeping cool. 

While we humans can reach for the AC controller, head to malls, or chow down on some icy cendol, our pets face quite a different challenge trying to manage this heat. Here are some tips to keep your indoor and outdoor pets cool and comfy throughout the El Nino season.

Indoor Pets: Comforts at Home

Having solely indoor pets such as small dogs, cats, or other creatures may be an easier task to monitor, but every companion animal deserves to have the best quality of life available.

    1. Controlled Temperature
      Keep your home at a comfortable temperature with air conditioning or fans circulating the air. If it's hot for you, it's hotter for your pet!

    2. Fresh, Cold Water
      Ensure your pet dog/cat/hamster, etc has continuous access to fresh water. Plop some ice cubes in their bowl to keep water cool for longer.

    3. Cool Retreat
      Your pet might not love their bed as much during the heat, so provide them access to tiled floors, damp towels, or cooling mats that they can lie down on to escape the heat.

    4. Covered Windows
      Invest in blackout or layered curtains to minimize the amount of outdoor heat coming in by direct sunlight.

    5. Humidity Monitor
      High humidity atmospheres impair pets' ability to cool themselves, rendering actions like panting redundant. Use humidifiers where necessary to help your pets!

Outdoor Pets: Shade and Shelter

For larger dogs or pets inhabiting an outdoor living space separate from your main living area, extra care must be taken to help them manage the full day of heat.

  1. Ample Shade
    For pets in outside hutches and kennels, move them to a place with ample shade, like your house's front porch or even your living room. If unavailable, get an awning or a lawn umbrella so your pet(s) are not in direct sunshine.

  2. Kiddie Pools/Sprinklers
    Consider setting up a small splash area or installing simple sprinklers for pets to cool their living area and raise their heat tolerance.

  3. Constant Water
    Having constant access to clean, cool water is an ultimate must - check and refill bowls constantly. If the pet's feeding area is in the sun, move it to a shaded place and check its temperature before your pet takes a drink. Some bowls might get pretty hot under the sun, and we don't want your pet to accidentally scald themselves!

  4. Limited Exercise
    Restrict your pets' exercise and play, especially during peak heat hours to avoid overheating.

  5. Bring Them In!
    On exceptionally hot afternoons or nights, bring your outdoor pets inside to a cooler, ventilated space with moving air. 
- Tropical Heat Considerations -

With Malaysia's constant weather of hot and humid this time of year, some additional considerations need to be noted, especially in the care of pets.

  • Early Morning/Late Evening walks - Time dog walks during the cooler parts of the day to avoid heat stress and hot walkways.
  • Breeds and Conditions - Short-nosed breeds and pets with medical conditions may need extra precautions. Consult your vet should you need advice.
  • Watch for Signs of Heatstroke - Rapid panting, excessive drooling, or lethargic behavior in usually active pets could signal heatstroke. Visit the vet as soon as you notice these symptoms.
  • Grooming - Keep your pets up to date with their grooming and brushing to avoid excess fur trapping body heat, but do not shave them as fur serves as a protective layer from the sun and debris.

During these simmering months, keeping vigilant about pet care in hot, sweltering weather is non-negotiable. With these practical steps, you can help safeguard your pets during the heatwaves, ensuring they are not just comfortable, but healthy. 

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