With the ongoing blistering heatwave, every animal shelter has started preparing, as rightly anticipated by the Indian Meteorological Department, for the worst summer of the decade. The Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre too, has prepared in advance for the challenge and already rescued about 80-90 animals including dogs, cats, birds, monkeys, stranded cattle and equines found on the road in hyperventilated, breathless and dehydrated condition. Many countless animals can be saved from this fate if you practise simple DIY ways to keep animals cool and hydrated.
- Prevent your pets from going outside during peak hot hours. Take them out for walks or visit your vet during early morning or late evening hours. This will help them avoid sweltering sun on a hot day.
- Make a temporary make shift structure out of cardboard or bamboo sticks and cotton cloth outside your home to provide much needed shade for the community indies. It will give them space to cool off and recuperate from the scorching sunlight. You may hang bird feeders or bird homes on your terrace for birds.
- Place mud or terracotta bowls full of water outside your house/lane/building/society and the terrace for stranded cattle, dogs, cats and the birds. They are inexpensive and easily available. Animals in search of water in this heat usually suffer heat stroke and end up losing their life if not rescued. Your one bowl of water can give relief to parched animal. Change the water regularly as the water may warm up and defeat the purpose to quench its thirst.
- It is advised that you brush your buddy 2-3 times in a week. You can take them for a haircut, eye and ear cleaning, etc. It will keep them healthier, lighter and hygienic. It is also recommended that you may bath them with anti-tick shampoo to prevent ticks. Tick fever is very common during the summer season. We shampoo and groom our shelter dogs routinely to prevent flies, ticks and to look out for any injuries.
- Offer juicy fruits to animals in this peak summer. Every animal enjoys a cool summer fruit which provides them energy and nutrition as well as keeps them hydrated. You can give oranges, berries, cucumber, grapes, bananas.
- If you find any animal showing signs of heat stroke such as lateral recumbency, warm body (ears, belly, paws), convulsions, dizziness, profuse panting, congested eyes etc, bring them to a cool place inside your home, offer water and put wet towel on the body, make an ice pack out of cloth and rub it along the spine, head and paws. Thereafter, you may contact local vet clinic, shelter or take them to a veterinary facility for treatment.
- In this hot weather, dehydrated and parched birds on the road are a common sight. You can help by bringing the bird to a calm environment, administer water or give ORS/Melonex drops (2-3 drops) through a dropper until it recovers from the shock or take it to nearest vet.
- Parking vehicles with pets inside is a BIG NO! Leaving your pet inside a car for even a few minutes can lead to suffocation and shock in this summer. The temperature inside a car rises quickly and has on several cases been cause of excruciating pain for pets left inside.
- You may sprinkle water now and then outside your home, shop, building to keep the area cool for the animals.
- In this heat, animals usually take rest under vehicles. Before driving, look under the vehicle, knock to alert the animals or wait for a few minutes after engines start for the animal to react and go away. This simple step will prevent unnecessary accident and pain.
These simple steps can go a long way to ease the suffering of animals during this harsh season. With rising temperatures, they need our kindness, now more than ever.