Protecting your pet from heat exhaustion in the hot South Florida summers is a primary concern for pet owners. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 164.4 million households own pets, and a large percentage of those consider their pets to be members of their families. We spend a lot of money every year on our pets, and their health and well-being is just as important as that of the humans in the household. So what happens when you have a power outage caused by bad weather, that goes on and on for days in what can sometimes be 100-degree heat?
Here are some ways to keep dogs, cats and other family pets cool and comfortable until the power is restored.
#1: Keep AC Running
Maintain a comfortable temperature indoors by keeping your AC running. To do this, you’ll need a source of emergency power such as a home standby generator. Of course, this needs to be arranged well before the situation that causes the outage, because it may be difficult to perform the installation without power. These backup generators typically work using natural gas as a source of fuel, and are installed outdoors in a secure cabinet.
#2: Create Air Circulation
If you don’t have AC, you’ll need to circulate the air in the home. You can do this using ceiling or standing fans. In a power outage, you’ll need a source of emergency power to operate ceiling fans, but if you have cage pets or elderly ones that have restricted mobility, a battery-operated desk fan beside their bed can help to keep them cool.
#3: Dehumidify the Home
Dehumidify your home interior to help reduce the stress to your pets and lower the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke occurring. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advocates the use of desiccants such as silica beads or rock salt for absorbing the moisture in the air. A range of non-electric dehumidifier units are available, which contain crystal products that help to proactively remove moisture from the air. Investing in a few of these not only keeps your pets cool and comfortable during a power outage, but can reduce the energy usually needed to power your household. It will also reduce the number of appliances supported by a home standby generator during an outage.
#4: Use Cool Baths and Towels
Bathing your dog or cat in cool water or wrapping them in wet towels can help to reduce their body temperature. This is particularly effective if the pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion. If you live in an area with a municipal water supply, this can be your fall-back option for pet cooling during a power outage. If you live in an outlying area and have an independent water supply, however, you will still need emergency power to operate a well pump. In such cases, some form of backup generator is essential to keep your home functioning while the power is down.
Keeping your pets cool during a power outage can be challenging if you aren’t prepared for it. In South Florida, tropical storms hit regularly with often frightening consequences. Take steps to ensure that your home is ready to withstand bad weather and any other natural disasters.