02 Jun 2023  |   04:26am IST

Pawsome summer: Keeping pets cool and happy

Pets, one of the many blessings to mankind, have become ‘children’ not to owners but rather to ‘paw parents’. Summer can mean lots of fun outside with your dog whose main aim is to make their family happy. But when the temperatures soar and summer continues, the heat can have adverse effects on their health
Pawsome summer: Keeping pets cool and happy

Cian Ferrao

Summer can mean lots of fun outside with your dog. But when the temperature soar, take steps to protect your pet. Whether you take them for a walk down the street, a ride in the car, or just out in the yard to play, the heat can be hard on them. As summer continues, it is crucial for to take precautions and ensure their pets are kept safe from the heat.

Dr Vivek Kumar, a veterinarian from Porvorim, emphasizes, “Keeping pets in parked cars and under hot sheds can be dangerous to the animal, as both can quickly reach high temperatures. Taking pets to the beach should be avoided during the day, as direct sunlight rays, high temperatures and hot sands can cause serious problems to the animal’s well-being. The best times for beach visits are before sunrise and after sunset, when the temperatures.”

Any dog can fall prey to heat stroke. As per Dr Erika Alphonso, a veterinarian from Aldona, pet parents should watch out for the following signs that indicate the dog is suffering from heatstroke: heavy panting, high body temperature, vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling and occurrence of bright red gums or tongue. If these symptoms are present, the dog is likely suffering from heatstroke and the vet should be contacted immediately. She suggests taking immediate action by reducing their body temperature and using cold compress, hydrating with cold water and keeping the animal in a cool place with a wet towel on the head.

Dogs with black fur, when out in the sunshine, without shade will experience symptoms of overheating more quickly than lighter dogs, as they absorb maximum heat. Dr Vivek warns that a large number of dogs with black fur, like Rottweilers often suffer due to the heat.

Few owners are aware that their dogs’ paws are at risk of another serious condition: paw pad burn. Due to high summer temperature, dogs are likely to burn their paws if walking on a hot surface or pavements. Dog’s paw pads are tough, but they are not shoes, and they’re susceptible to injury and overuse. Limping or excessive licking may indicate this condition, which may require immediate medical attention.

Walking dogs in the morning and evening hours, when it is relatively cooler, to keep them exercised is recommended. Keep a constant supply of cool drinking water available for the dog so they can stay hydrated, and always carry enough water when taking them out.

Dr Vivek advises, “Pets should be kept in air conditioned areas, well ventilated rooms or indoors. Dogs should not be taken outside the house or for long drives during summers. Avoid leaving them out on the open terrace or roofs.”

Trimming dogs with thick or long fur may be a good option, during these months. Removing their extra fur can help to strip extra insulation from them, allowing cooling air to reach their skin and blow away the heat radiating off of them.

Breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs, are more prone to overheating during walks due to their shortened muzzles that make breathing and panting more difficult, especially in hot weather, making it more challenging for these dogs to stay cool. Keeping your dog cool and comfortable during dog walks is particularly important for flat-faced breeds, and therefore, their walks should be kept short.

“Stray animals also face problems during the summer, especially dehydration and heatstroke. Please keep a water bowl with clean water outside your house, shops, societies, etc. You may unknowingly save a life”, advises Dr Erika.

When it comes to their diet, Dr Erika suggests, “Make some homemade ice cream without dairy and sugar. It can contain certain fruits like watermelon, banana, organic naturally made peanut butter or unsweetened yogurt. Licking ice cubes are great to keep your pets cool. Fruits like watermelon are cooling and perfect for summer. Feed your dogs curd as it is not only cooling but also a great probiotic.” She also recommends carbohydrates and vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, beans, and spinach. Drinks like watermelon juice can be given to the pet after having removed the seeds or unsalted/unsweetened buttermilk is a great choice too.

Families also tend to travel abroad for their summer vacations, often leaving their pets under the care of pet sitters. Anasha Pereira, one such petsitter from Corlim, attends to these dogs needs by keeping them indoors in air conditioned areas. During summer, the animals are fed curd rice, fruits, and watermelon or coconut juice, including smaller quantities chicken and kibble once a day. “We treat them with small cups of vanilla ice cream. We customize their meals as per instructions given by the owners”, she explains.

She goes on to say, “As per the rules, we have installed air conditioners, while dogs which are kept outside have jute bags and coconut leaves on the roof of their cages to keep them cool, with fans on at all times. Water tubs are also kept for pets to splash water on themselves to keep them cool.” She also mentioned that during summer, she gets an average of fifteen dogs, sometimes extending to 2-3 more, due to last minute extension or some emergency.

A little empathy goes a long way in protecting pets from extreme weather. If it’s too hot for humans to stay comfortable in the car, in the yard,

or on a walk, it’s even hotter for their furry friends.


Iddhar Udhar