Conventional wisdom has it that our furry friends’ ancestors survived in much harsher conditions, so their modern descendants should be able to do the same. Like humans, however, time, evolution, and domesticity has bred out some of that hardiness. Wondering whether your pets need air conditioning? Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning went looking for answers backed by science.
Why Pets Need Climate Control
Let’s start with a look at how your pet’s heating and cooling system works. Many dogs and cats “dress” in layers, with an undercoat and overcoat. Unlike us, they can’t just decide they’re going to take their coat off when they’re feeling hot. So they use a heat exchanger — panting — which cools and recirculates the air in their lungs and lowers body temperature. However, the closer the ambient temperature is to body temperature, the harder it is for your pet to keep cool — a problem that’s compounded by humidity.
Dogs and cats have some similarities to their human family. Pets that are older, overweight, or who suffer from heart or lung conditions are more susceptible to problems in higher heat. Regardless of health, they can also suffer the same consequences when it comes to overheating. They can suffer heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat stress. If you notice excessive panting or drooling, lethargy, increased heart rate or temperature, or any other behaviors that are unusual, get your furry pal to a cooler area immediately.
Finding the Right Indoor Temperature for Your Pets
Pets’ physiology may be different than humans’, but their temperature needs aren’t all that much different than ours. Cats’ natural body temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit — not much different than ours — with dogs running a bit hotter at about 102 degrees on average.
As we’ve already seen, dogs and cats don’t have the same coping mechanisms for higher temperatures. That’s why it’s important to regulate your home’s temperature around the clock — not going above 78 to 80 degrees indoors — rather than shutting the AC off for extended periods of time because you won’t be home. If it is, or would be too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets.
Whether your kids have two legs or four, a number of the same rules apply for keeping them safe in the summer. If your pet likes to play outside even when it’s hot, limit their time outdoors and don’t run them around too much if it’s hot out. Try to get walks and some outdoor playtime in during the cooler morning and early evening hours. Make sure they stay adequately hydrated. Make sure they have foot cover if you’re taking them for a walk, since sidewalks and streets can be hot enough to cause serious burns to their feet.
Finally — and we can’t believe that we still have to remind people of this in 2019 — do not ever leave your pets or kids inside your vehicle on a summer day. Not even with the AC on, since cars can stall out or overheat, and errant paws and little hands can inadvertently turn the vehicle and the AC off.
Whoever you’re trying to keep cool this summer — yourself, your kids, or your four-legged friends — Ace Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning can help with air conditioning repairs near Sacramento, tune-ups, new installations, and more.