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Should You Leave The Air Conditioner On For Your Pet?


At Bonney Plumbing, Heating, & Air we appreciate our loyal customers AND their loyal four-legged companions. Pets are like family, and for a lot of people pets ARE family.

When we can’t be home with our animals we want them to be safe and comfortable. Summertime pet safety is an important issue during the dog days of summer. When the temperature outside reaches 100 degrees it can have a real effect on your beloved cat or dog.

A dog or cat can’t take off their shirt and wear boxer shorts around the house to cool off like dad. Some dogs and cats have a big shaggy coat that keeps them warm in the winter but come summertime, that fur coat can’t be shed. The furrier the dog or cat, the hotter they’re gonna get.

So, should you leave the air conditioner on for your pet when you’re gone or at work?

Most pet owners and veterinarians say “yes” you should leave your air conditioner on for your pet. It gives your dog or cat a sense of relief.

According to Gina Knepp, who manages the Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter, “If you have air conditioning and can afford it, I recommend you keep it baseline comfortable”.

What is considered baseline comfortable?

The Department of Energy’s website recommends keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees while you’re at home and 85 degrees when the house is empty during the summer. If you’re leaving a furry friend inside, stick to 78-80 degrees. You will save money, but will also keep your pets comfortable. Keep in mind that regular body temperature for cats and dogs is 3-4 degrees higher than for humans, so if it’s comfortable for you it’s likely comfortable for your pet.

According to the Humane Society, a dog’s temperature should not reach above 104 degrees. But what is more important is how a dog cools down. Dogs pant, evaporating moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. Cats like dogs, pant to cool themselves off. Cats are also good at finding the coolest place in the house to lie down. That’s why you’ll find the cat curled up in the porcelain sink and the dog sprawled out on the cool tile floor. Both cats and dogs know where to go when they’re hot, but they cool themselves more efficiently in an air-conditioned home.

Older animals as well as cats and dogs with “smushed” or pushed-in faces—like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats – may have a harder time controlling their internal body temperature. Many breeds share this physical trait and since it makes it harder for them to breathe, they should always be considered non-heat tolerant and kept comfortably cool.

Always have a bowl of fresh water for your animals to keep them hydrated and use the same techniques you would if you were home and trying to keep the house cool. Close the blinds, shades or drapes, and keep the heat generating lights and appliances turned off.

It may cost a little extra to keep the dog or cat cool, but in the long run it’s worth it for the health and safety of your pet.

At Bonney, Plumbing, Heating & Air we specialize in taking care of air conditioning needs for humans and their furry four legged friends. Contact Bonney today for an air conditioner tune-up in Sacramento and Concord.  We would be happy to help your pets stay cool while you are away.