House pets are the lucky ones who get to spend most of the day stretched out on the cool linoleum instead of panting in the sun. But farm animals are a different story. Though they’re often exposed to the elements, they don’t have to suffer. Here are a few ways to keep your animals cool during hot weather.
- Keep them well-hydrated. This is a no-brainer for pets and humans alike. One of the best ways to endure hot weather is to stay well-hydrated. It keeps the body cooled and functioning at its peak.
- Provide shelter and shade. Whether you have a barn or a big shade tree, giving your animals a place to escape from the midday sun is essential for keeping them cool.
- Give them showers. Hose your big guys (horses, donkeys, etc.) with lukewarm water regularly to keep them cool. For smaller critters, especially water-loving ducks, fill kiddy pool with cool water and allow them easy access.
- Provide ice packs for small animals. Rabbits and guniea pigs, for example, don't endure heat well. They should always be kept in a shaded hutch with plenty of water to drink. You can also wrap an ice pack in a towel or wash cloth to put in the cage for extra comfort.
- Got chickens? Try mud baths! Run your hose out in a patchy area of the yard where you can stir up some cool mud for chickens. They may enjoy nestling down into the cool mud to escape the heat.
Be sure to watch for signs of heat stress in your animals such as panting, staggering, swollen tongue, trouble breathing, or vomiting blood. If you suspect your animal is getting overheated, cool them down and seek professional help immediately.
And don't forget about yourself! Humans are just as capable of experiencing heat stroke, so keep an eye on your own well-being, too. If you begin to feel sick in the heat, try using peppermint essential oil to alleviate nausea and combat heat exhaustion. Drink some cool peppermint tea or take a lukewarm bath infused with peppermint oil to cool your body down and lessen the effects of overheating.
Is it hot there today? Make sure you pamper your animals for a bit to keep them cool, and make sure you stay hydrated, too!