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Experts Reveal The Perfect Temperature For Our Household Pets & How To Achieve It

Experts Reveal The Perfect Temperature For Our Household Pets & How To Achieve It

The Most Common UK Pets

The UK is a very pet-friendly country with 62% of households owning at least one pet. This is 3% higher than last year and a 21% increase from just two years ago. A graph showing the percentage of households with pets   However, not all pet owners are the same and that's evident in the choice of which pets people decide to adopt. While dogs and cats are the most popular pet choice, there is a wide range of animals that people choose to keep as pets. We asked Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian who also works with petkeen.com, to give us a range of temperatures that different types of pets will be most comfortable - below were her estimates: A table detailing what the ideal temperature is for different pets These temperatures are just guidelines - the perfect temperature for a small or short-haired pet will be different from a larger pet or one with a thick coat. This is why it's important to know the signs of when your pet is hot or cold and be able to react accordingly. An image of a dog wearing sunglasses

How to Tell if Your Pet Is Too Hot

When thinking of the ideal room temperature, you need to consider your pet's size, weight, coat, and age. However, a much easier way of gauging whether a room is too warm is by checking if your pet is showing signs of being too hot. Below are some signs for the most common household pets - dogs and cats.

Signs a Dog Is Too Warm

Common signs your dog is too hot include frantic panting, shortness of breath and drooling. Elaine shared her experience with Henry, their Labrador and prime product tester (see the adorable Henry below): “If Henry gets too hot, he will lay panting quite deeply with his tongue hanging out. Initially, the panting is very shallow and fast, but as he cools down his breathing becomes slower and deeper.” An image of a dog sitting on sand

Signs a Cat Is Too Warm

In the case of cats, common signs they’re too hot include wet paw prints on the floors (a sign that your cat is sweating) panting, and drooling. It is a lot less common for cats to pant, so if they’re panting, that’s a tell-tale sign your cat is too warm. Paola Cuevas, a veterinarian (MVZ) and behaviourist at Hepper.com, tells us: “The best way to react to your cat being too hot is by providing them with a fresh, shaded, ventilated area and offering them clean running drinking water.” An image of a cat lying down on a blanket

Signs of Heatstroke in Pets

Paoalo warns pet parents that they should be familiar with the signs of heatstroke as this is a serious condition that can lead to organ damage and even death. If your pet is presenting any of the following signs, they may be suffering from heatstroke and it is important to contact your veterinarian:
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive panting
  • Vomit
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Red tongue and mouth
  • Stumbling
  • Staggering gait
  • Increased body temperature

How to Keep Your Pet Cool

While there are ways of ensuring your pet stays cool, you must never leave your pet alone in an enclosed area with direct sun such as cars, especially during hot seasons. A parked car’s interior temperature can rise more than one degree per minute during a hot summer day and can lead to heatstroke. An image of a dog lying on dog bed

How to Cool Dogs Down

If your dog is showing signs of being too warm, there are a range of tips on how to safely cool them down. Paolo suggested: “If it is exceptionally hot, it is important to make sure your dog has plenty of water and provide additional ways to help them cool down like a cooling mat or wet towels to lie on. Also, ensure there is shade if the heat is due to the sun.” If it's warm outside and your house is difficult to cool down, close your curtains or blinds to keep as much sun out as possible and provide shaded areas. You can also place a fan in front of your dog, blowing cool air at them and bringing their temperature down. Paolo continued: “Get creative and offer your pets some delicious summer snacks. Pet-friendly ice cream and ice cubes can be a great way to keep your pet cool during summer.”

How to Cool Cats Down

Paolo also shared her expert tips on how to cool cats down: “Cats use their saliva evaporation to cool down, so keeping your cat’s hair mat-free is very important. This system works similarly to how sweat cools us down. Cats can only sweat through their paws, but these are tiny in reaction to a cat’s full body size so that system is not very efficient. However, cats use their saliva to cool down creating an evaporation effect in the rest of their body. “Regularly brushing your cat might be necessary to ensure its coat remains mat-free. This is especially important if you have a long-haired breed. Mats prevent the skin from getting good airflow and mess with the cat’s self-grooming evaporation system.” Similarly to dogs, it's also important to ensure your cat has fresh, cool drinking water available at all times, put a fan near them to blow cold air, and try to keep them in cool shaded areas. If you suspect a pet suffering from heatstroke, they must be gradually cooled down to ensure their body doesn't go into shock and trap heat in the body - avoid ice or very cold water, instead cool them down by wetting them with cool (not cold) water, and letting them rest under a fan. An image of a cat walking around the snow

How to Tell if Your Pet Is Too Cold

On the other hand, an environment that is too cold might also make your furry friends uncomfortable. Pets being too cold can be extremely dangerous and head to frostbite and hypothermia - this is a huge risk during the winter months.

Signs Your Dog Is Too Cold

Tarik Jayousi, managing director at A&T Trained Dogs, provided us with some advice on how to know when it's getting too cold for our dogs: “With colder temperatures, we need to watch for our dogs' paws, hydration and body language. Dogs will often show us things before they become too much for them, so watch for shivering or signs of discomfort. Dogs will become dehydrated quickly in the cold, ensure you have a warm room with clean fresh water at all times. With walking, keep their exercise intense and brief. The more time they spend with paws on the frozen ground, the more likely they will get frozen pads!" Some common signs that your dog may be too cold include:
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Hunched posture and a tucked tail
  • Lifting paw off the ground
  • Seeking shelter
  • Whining or barking
  • Seeming anxious or uncomfortable
  • Resistance to walking

Signs Your Cat Is Too Cold

Although many cats look like little fluffballs, they do still get cold and can face dangers if they are not kept at a good temperature. The common signs of cats being too cold include:
  • Hunching down and puffed fur
  • Shivering
  • Cold tips of ears, tail, or nose
  • Seeking warmer places 
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Shallow breathing
  • Being more cuddly
An image of a dog in the snow

Signs of Frostbite or Hypothermia in Pets

Hypothermia affects organ systems and can cause a range of issues including heart problems, breathing difficulties, lowered immune systems, and can even cause death. Frostbite affects skin, joints, and muscles. If a cat or dog's body temperature goes below 34.4°C, they will struggle to regulate their temperature - it is extremely important to avoid either of these situations happening to your pet. Go to your veterinary practice if you spot any of the below signs:
  • Intense shivering and shaking
  • Dizziness and lack of coordination
  • Lethargy and drowsiness
  • Skin discolouration
  • Pain
An image of a dog snuggled in a fluffy blanket

How to Keep Your Pet Warm

Keeping a pet warm will depend on your pet’s breed, coat, and size so you will need to ensure that you’re not making the animal too warm. In extremely cold weather, it might be best to avoid letting your pet outdoors for long periods and keep the house set at a warm, comfortable temperature.

How to Keep Dogs Warm

Paolo offered the following tips to keep your pet warm: Paolo provided advice on keeping your dogs warm: “Dog sweaters and added layers of coats, or even dog booties, might be needed to insulate its body from the external environment. If you live in a snowy area, consider using dog booties during winter to protect your pet’s paws from frostbite.” Other ways to keep your dog warm and comfortable in colder conditions include ensuring they are completely dried off after walks or baths, providing warm bedding for them, and playing with them to keep them active and moving.

How to Keep Cats Warm

Outdoor cats are especially at risk of getting too cold in the winter, so it’s a good idea to try and keep cats indoors when it is very cold outside. Other ways to keep your kitty warm include sheltering them - try a hooded cat bed, make beds warm with blankets, play with them to keep them active, and let them snuggle up to you! Paolo added: “Pet owners need to make sure they provide a properly insulated shelter with warm bedding and additional blankets. During both hot and cold weather, always make sure your pets always have access to drinking water. Dehydration is a hazard in both summer and winter time. “ Whatever your preferred method of heating, just make sure you keep your pets in mind when adjusting the heating and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. An image of a cat and dog snuggling up together Overall, it's important to ensure your pet is comfortable at all times and during any weather condition - if you are not checking on your pet and keeping them warm or cool during extreme weather, it can be extremely dangerous. Regardless of the weather, ensure you keep your furry friends in mind when heating your home to provide them with the utmost comfort.


Elaine Steckler is the Director at Oscar & Hooch, a stylish dog wear brand that could withstand the rolling, muck and mayhem of dog walks. Henry, who Oscar & Hooch adopted at 7 months old, is now the new chief product tester and top dog in the business.  Chyrle Bonk is a veterinarian that has practised in a mixed animal clinic for over 10 years. She also writes for various veterinary websites and magazines, like PetKeen! Paola Cuevas is a Veterinarian and Behaviorist with Hepper.com a company that provides modern and aesthetic pet furniture to their homes.

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