Leave the AC on for Dogs & Cats

Should you leave your home air conditioning running for your pet?

Terrier_mixed-breed_dogWhile some people criticize pet owners for spoiling precious kittens and puppies, keeping an air conditioned home may actually be necessary for a pet’s survival.

Of course behind every pet story, there’s going to be someone that thinks these rules only apply to crazy cat ladies, but according to many vets, maintaining a comfortable temperature in the home helps to avoid heat stress and exhaustion.

Animals cool themselves by panting, which is a process of exchanging warm air from their lungs for the cooler air outside. When it’s a hot and humid day, this can’t happen, putting pets at a greater risk for heat stress.

Dogs are generally more susceptible to suffering from the heat, and pets with longer fur will suffer more discomfort. Pets that are overweight, elderly or are suffering from a pre-existing condition should definitely be watched. Additionally, animals with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are at a higher risk because they cannot pant.

In a Mother Jones article, Dr. Helen Myers, a veterinarian at the ASPCA‘s Animal Poison Control Center, said that thermostats should ideally be set at 78-80 degrees to keep pets comfortable. Plus, you should always have water available when you aren’t home to prevent dehydration.

Overall, each pet has different needs. If you find your pet relaxing in front of an air conditioning vent, then it’s a good idea to keep the air running. Some pets do enjoy basking in the sunlight, in which case it might be OK to not run the air as much. Still, keep an eye on your air conditioning settings this summer because you never know what’s happening when you aren’t in your home.

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