When your home’s central air conditioning runs, it’s keeping you cool. Have you stopped to think about how it’s also keeping your furry friends cool and comfortable? AC is just as important for your cat or dog, as they are prone to heatstroke in hot, humid weather, and they rely on their owners to make sure they’re cool and healthy.
Central AC is just as important to your dogs and cats, and that means you need to be certain it’s running effectively when you’re at work or away running errands. Your pets need to stay cool, too.
Dog Breeds That Are Susceptible to Overheating
Any dog can overheat, but certain dog breeds are more susceptible to heatstroke. When the dog’s body temperature climbs to 103º F or hotter, the dog is in trouble and needs veterinary care. Typically, a dog’s temperature shouldn’t be higher than 101.5º F. Other signs of heatstroke include:
- Dry and warm nose
- Red, sticky gums
- An accelerated heart rate
- Excessive panting
- Muscle tremors and staggering
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting with blood
If you don’t take action to help the dog cool off, seizures and heart failure are a risk. Dogs with thick coats or that are brachycephalic dogs have a higher risk of heat stroke. The same is true of puppies, obese, or elderly dogs. However, any dog can become ill in excessive heat and humidity. If you own one of the following dogs or any other breeds with short snouts, a flat face, or thick fur, maintaining a cooler home temperature keeps them healthy.
- American, English, and French bulldogs: These are the first of several brachycephalic dogs with flat faces and shorter snouts, which makes it harder for them to breathe. English bulldogs can also become obese due to their normally low energy levels, which adds to the problem.
- Boston Terrier: A Boston terrier is known for having difficulty regulating its body temperature. Plus, it’s a brachycephalic breed.
- Boxer: Another breed with a short snout, the boxer is also an active dog, which makes them more likely to run around when given the option.
- Chow Chow: The breed’s excessively thick coat traps body heat.
- Greyhound: Greyhound’s activity level and slender body make them more susceptible to heat stroke at temperatures of 80º F or higher.
- Golden Retriever: The thick fur on a retriever traps body heat against the skin.
- Husky: A husky also has a thick coat of fur and does better in cool weather than hot.
- Malamute: Like a husky, the fur on an Alaskan malamute is designed to keep them warm in cold climates. They don’t do well in heat.
- Pug: A pug is another brachycephalic breed with a flatter face, so breathing issues are already common, and panting doesn’t cool the dog effectively.
- Shih Tzu: The breed’s flatter face makes breathing harder to start with, which makes it harder for breathing to rid the dog of body heat.
Those are some of the common breeds that are prone to overheating, but a dog with black fur has a higher risk as black attracts sunlight. Keep your dog inside where it’s cool as much as you can on hot days. Don’t let any dog spend time outside unsupervised, even if you have a fenced yard. You need to make sure the dog isn’t overheating when running around or playing.
Cats Don’t Sweat
A cat is even more susceptible to heat. They do not sweat, so cooling down in heat is best managed through actions like lying around more, drinking more water, and lying on cool flooring instead of a cat bed or tree.
You might find your cat grooms more, which uses saliva to mimic sweat, but it’s not as effective as having working AC and a fan to help keep your cat cool in the heat. Still, heatstroke is a risk, especially in elderly, obese, or short-nosed breeds like Burmese, Persians, and Scottish Folds.
Signs of heatstroke in a cat are similar to what you see in a dog, but there are a few differences. Watery, glazed eyes are the most notable. Otherwise, muscle tremors and balance issues, exhaustion, breathing difficulties, and vomiting are signs. If your cat is panting, it’s critical to get your cat to an emergency vet.
How Often Are You Changing Your Air Filters?
When you have multiple pets, the fur they shed can make your air filter dirtier faster. It may become necessary to replace your filter each month. You also want to talk to your Miami AC company to ask what the best filter is. HEPA filters with a rating of MERV 11 or better are often recommended to pet owners. If allergies or pet odors are a problem, you might want to increase to a MERV 13.
But, it’s important to ask your AC installer and repair technician first. The higher the filter’s rating, the harder it is for air to flow through your ducts. You can create issues with low airflow if you choose a filter that’s too much for your system. The right filter takes care of pet hair, dander, and pet odors, and ensures you’re keeping your pets and yourself cool on the hottest days.
What Happens if Your AC Breaks Down?
You can’t prevent your AC from breaking down. Keep it maintained regularly to avoid having it stop working. If you hear any unusual noise or notice some rooms aren’t cooling as effectively as others, check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty. If not, call a Miami AC expert to assess your central AC system’s health and get issues fixed ASAP.
Until the system is fixed, keep your dog cool by dampening his fur and running fans near his bed. A cooling pad filled with gel that you store in the refrigerator or freezer helps keep the body temperature dog. Consider having two of them available and swap them as needed.
Your cat may not love getting wet, but it helps. If your cat won’t let you bathe him, use a damp towel against the feet or belly to help cool him off. Again, make sure fans are running. Keep water bowls full with fresh, cool water.
All Year Cooling Is Your Miami and Southeastern Florida AC Expert
All Year Cooling wants pets and their owners to be cool and comfortable in hot weather. If you suspect anything is wrong or your system is old and ineffective, give us a call. We’ll give you an honest assessment of what’s wrong, what the repair will cost, or if it’s time to replace your system.
Central AC systems don’t last forever, most are only warrantied for 10 years at the absolute most. If it’s been more than 10 years, it might be time to upgrade to a new, energy-efficient system that keeps your home cool with lower utility bills. Reach us online, by phone, or through chat, and let All Year Cooling help you and your pets stay cool and comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside.