Summer is here in all its glory and if you take the heat out, it’s not that bad, isn’t it? I mean, it might get a little sweaty but summer is all about fun. And your pet would totally agree with that.
However, with their normal body temperatures being warmer than ours, and a built-in fur coat, summer can get extremely challenging for our canine companions. But doing some simple things can help us keep our pets cool and comfortable.
Dr. KG Umesh, Waltham Scientific Communication Manager at Mars India shares some easy tips for our furry friends to have a happy summer.
1. Avoid exposure to sunlight for more than an hour
Our pets are covered with hair and their body temperatures are much higher than that of humans. Moreover, they do not sweat to cool off, they pant and look for cool surfaces to cool down. So, ideally, one must avoid exposure to sunlight for more than an hour. However, if they spend time in the open, ensure that they get proper shade and a lot of water to avoid heat, exhaustion, and dehydration.
2. Do not leave your pets in parked cars for any period of time
Every summer, a number of animals who are left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke. On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a car can reach up to 120° in a matter of minutes. If you see an animal in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. And if the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police.
3. Make sure they’re fed with a well-balanced nutritionally complete and energy dense diet
Dogs tend to eat less in summer but they end up spending more energy in an effort to lower their body temperatures. A lot of pet owners tend to feed home-made diets like curds and rice during summer, but it is very important to note that this food contains more water (70-80%) and does not have adequate levels of energy, vitamins, minerals, etc.
Make sure they’re fed with a well-balanced nutritionally complete and energy dense diet like Pedigree dry food. One also needs to provide them with plenty of fresh water in summer and increase the frequency of feeding to ensure that your pet is fed with the total recommended quantity of pet food.
4. Puppies with too much fur should be well groomed during summer time
Furry dog breeds should be well clipped during this season as the thick coat makes them feel hotter. It also makes it a home for bacteria and parasites.
5. Keep their bed cool
Remove cushiony bedding from your dog’s crate or bed. They may be more comfortable lying on the cooler bottom rather than on blankets or fleece.
6. Save exercise sessions for early morning or after the sun goes down
Your dog will appreciate the cooler temperatures, and so will you. Check the ground during walks. Blacktop can get scorching hot for your dog’s pads. Touch the surface yourself. If it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for your dog as well.
7. Keep your dog indoors when you go out for more than an hour. Don’t lock them in the balcony.
If possible, restrict them to rooms with either air conditioning or a fan.
8. Put a lid on the toilet bowls
This is that time of the year when dogs are tempted to drink cold water from toilet bowls. So keep the lid down and try to avoid chemical cleaners and fresheners that stay in the bowl.
9. Give your dog some space; they like it too!
Dogs, like people, can get grumpy when it’s hot. Remind young children that their hugs may not be appreciated on stifling days.
10. Hose them down
Try a gentle spray of cool water. Keep in mind that it may take you a few tries before your pooch enjoys the experience. If it goes according to plan, he’ll feel happy and refreshed once he’s nice and wet.
11. Watch out for symptoms of heat stress or stroke
If you notice any of these signs/symptoms in your pet during summer, these may be the first signs of a heat-related problem:
- Excessive panting or gasping for breath seeking shade.
- Reduced food intake, reduced activity.
- Muscle spasms/muscle tremors.
- Fatigue, weakness, vomiting.
- Diarrhoea and depression.
The hallmark of heat-stroke is severe central nervous system disturbance and is often associated with multi-organ dysfunction. Get your dog to a cool location, provide small drinks of cold water, and, if he doesn’t improve within a few minutes, contact your veterinarian.