So what drove me to ask this question in the first place? One day a few weeks ago, my family and I were going to go swimming for an afternoon. I got all of our stuff ready, made sure all the pets had food and water, and adjusted the thermostats on our AC window units accordingly.
We live with my father, and he is always turning the AC off in order to save energy. (I was curious to know if a lot of other people were like this, or if it was just him.) I waited outside for the rest of my family while my youngest daughter played on her swing set. My oldest daughter forgot something and ran back inside. When she came back, we were ready to go swimming!
We weren't gone all day, just a few hours and made the trip back home in the late afternoon. While driving home I was talking to my boyfriend when he mentioned that "it's going to be hot in the bedroom". I snapped my head over to him and asked "why?!".
|Shiner's favorite spot to sit is the window seat by the AC window unit.|
He said he had turned the AC off. What?! There are animals in there and it's hot! At first, I wanted to panic but I stayed calm because panicking never helps. Apparently, my father had told my oldest daughter to make sure we turn off the AC before we left. I had never planned on turning it off. I could tell the boyfriend felt bad about it and I don't think he'll make the same mistake again. And I've also used the opportunity to educate my 10 year old daughter on the matter. I think it was just poor overall communication between all of us.
When we got home, everyone was fine and I refilled water bowls and turned the AC back on. And yes, it was hot in the house. This event was what prompted me to ask the question - should you leave the AC on for your pets when you aren't home?
Survey Results - How many people leave their AC running for their pets in their home?
When I asked this question on Social Media, I had an outpouring of pet parents claim that they would without a doubt leave the air conditioner running for their pets. I compiled all the results into a graphic.
There are a lot of factors that I think are important to consider when asking this question. Things like geographical location and whether or not a person actually has an air conditioner. While it's hard to imagine not having an air conditioner for some of us, I've been there myself quite recently.
As a rule of thumb, if your pet is used to living in a certain temperature, then it only makes sense that you should leave your home at that temperature for them when you aren't home. Or at least a temperature that is close to it. I know we like conserving energy and money, but why should our pets sit in a hotter than usual home just because we aren't there with them? Plus, there is the added risk of heat exhaustion and that is a scary thing.
Many people opt to turn their thermostat up as a way to conserve energy or save money when they leave the house. I do this in my own home. For the inside of the house where the cat stays while I'm gone, I put the thermostat at 75 degrees farenheit. For my bedroom where the dog and rats stay, I don't change anything. That AC window unit doesn't work the best, so I feel like I should just keep it where it's at.
And the few people who do not have air conditioners in their home admitted to at least using fans or opening windows claiming that "if they had AC, they would turn it on for their pets while they were away from home". A little bit of air circulation can make a big difference. Especially if you are without AC in the Summer.
How can you help your pet stay cool?
If you want to help keep your pets cool while you're away from home, here are a few things that you can try:
- Always leave plenty of fresh water for your pet to drink. You can add ice cubes to make it even cooler.
- For small pets (like my pet rats), place frozen water bottles wrapped in towels in their cage. Your small pet will lay next to them and the water bottles will help cool them.
- Keep a fan running. As I mentioned above, air circulation makes a big difference! I can't imagine that a pet would get into much trouble with a ceiling fan, so those are likely the safest option. Only leave a portable fan running if you are certain your pet isn't going to injure themselves with it somehow. (Hey - crazy things happen sometimes.)
- Get a cooling mat for your pet. I've never used one of these things, but they seem helpful.
- Leave a frozen treat for your dog. I've heard of some people doing this before. They will stuff a KONG with whatever they want, freeze it, and leave it for their dog while they are gone. It keeps the dog occupied and it's a nice way to stay cool too. Of course, use your best judgment if you do this. Some toys and treats are only meant to be given with human supervision.
|Trying to stay cool!|
Do you leave the AC on for your pet when you leave home? How do you make sure they stay cool in the Summer?