It’s Heating Up

activities with dogs animal wisdom cat colorado dog earth wisdom Jul 18, 2023
Cat under bush

Welp, it seems like the scientists were right. This summer has been the hottest on record in the world. And that’s all I’m gonna say about global warming.

We have been lucky to this point - we had several weeks of rain and cool days, so while the rest of the country was sweltering, here in Elbert, Colorado all we had to deal with was standing water. This was quite an adventure, because in the six years we’ve been here, “our place” and “standing water” were definitely not in the same sentence together. This tells you how much it rained. We’ll have a barn full of hay this winter, courtesy of the rainiest spring in memory!

Green. In July. Inconceivable!

Now it’s turned warm. Okay, HOT. Not as hot as Phoenix, which is in the triple digits, but hot enough that I’m sweating, and the dogs and cats are laying flat on the floors. When we ask the dogs if they want to go for a ride and it’s past noon, they look at us like we’re nuts, because going for a ride usually involves a trip to the dog park or a nice walk. “We’ll just stay here,” they say, spreading their toes out further along the floor. “You want to walk or run around the dog park, feel free.”

So we plan activities for the early part of the day. Have to keep the doggos safe and hydrated. 

And that’s the crux of this blog. What are you doing to keep your animals cool? They really can’t handle the heat any better than we can. The two most important things they need are:

Water - we have water bowls all over the house, and some outside too. They use them all, cats and dogs alike.

Shade - Trees are nice. Wish we had more. Maybe we’ll plant some. When the dogs (and cats) go outside, we make sure the garage is open so they can get in and lay down on the cool floor. The cats go under the deck, which is dark, loamy, and full of small leaves which they bring in the house on their coats.

At one time we had a pool for the dogs to play in, but nobody played in it, not even Niko, who will get into just about any form of water. So we don’t put it out any more. Some people use sprinklers that children with two and four legs can run through. 

Waiting for arrivals. Photo by Skitterphoto

We keep the blinds down in our house. This is a great house. It has lots of windows, which is great in the winter when it’s cold - the sun streams in and warms up pretty much the whole place. In the summer, the same thing happens - the sun streams in and warms up the whole place. So the blinds stay down, and it is literally 10-15 degrees cooler in the house at any time of day than it is outside. Sweet.

Today the dogs went out for a little while after having been in over night. Usually they’ll stay out for hours, just roaming around the fenced five acres, checking the vole population, digging to China, barking at the neighbors. They have a full life. Since it’s been so hot, though, they go out, do their business, and come right back in. Even taking a vole poll can’t compare to the nice cool floors and drawn blinds.

The horses all have shelters which give them shade, and plenty of water. This time of year we’ll fill a 100 gallon tank 4-5 times a week for three horses. (We don’t let it get below half before we’re out there with the hose, but you get my drift.)  In the heat of day they disappear from the pastures - siesta time, evidently.


Keeping cool. Photo by Javad Fereydounpour

So remember, all of our furry friends need lots of water and a cool place to hang when it’s hot out. And I’m not even going to say anything about leaving a pet in the car (of course I just said something). The dogs get kind of grumpy if we take the truck out to run errands on the weekend and we leave them behind. Must. Go. For. A. Ride. As a result, we’re always flipping a coin to see who’s going to sit in the vehicle with the engine and air going and who’s going to do the actual errand. Probably not real good for the environment (no wonder it’s getting hotter and hotter!), but the dogs are happy. 

If you’re hot, they’re hot. Probably hotter, since they can’t remove their fur coats. Be good to your pets. Water. Shade. Treats. A ride with air conditioning. Life is Good.

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