By Dr. Umesh Karkare*

Our furry friends find summer most uncomfortable with the scorching heat. The increasing heat in summer is dangerous for our animal companions which leads to heatstroke, dehydration, and other health issues. It is extremely challenging to deal with rising temperatures for our pets. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your pet from the summer heat.

Here are some tips to keep your furry friend cool and healthy during the summer months:

Keep your pet hydrated: Ensure that your pet has access to clean and fresh water throughout the day. Change their water regularly and add some ice cubes to it to keep it cold. Feeding them natural coolers like curd, and unsweetened buttermilk helps them beat the heat.

Limit exercise during peak hours: We as vets always recommend that pet parents should avoid exercising their pets during the hottest part of the day. Instead, take them for a walk early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Additionally, walking your pets on the grass is another preferred option during the summer.

Make some tasty frozen pet treats: Make some simple and natural homemade popsicles for furry companions. Simply ice-freeze your pet’s favorite wet food and give these cold treats to your companion to help them stay cool this summer.

Use cooling mats: Cooling mats help keep your pet cool during the summer heat. These products work by absorbing heat from your pet’s body, providing a refreshing sensation. Moreover, these items will remain cool for at least 3 days if you soak them in cool water. Also, offer them relaxing soak baths if they don’t find baths stressful.

Watch for signs of heatstroke: Heatstroke is a severe condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. Some symptoms of heatstroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, drooling, lethargy, vomiting, fever, dizziness and many more. If you notice any of these signs, move your pet to a cool place and offer water, and seek veterinary care immediately.

Don’t leave your pet in a hot vehicle: Even with the windows open, a car can become dangerously hot in a few minutes. Leaving your pet in a parked car can lead to heatstroke or even death. Always take your pet with you or leave them at home.

Protect your pet’s paws: Sand beaches, sidewalks and other surfaces heat up at high temperatures and burn your pet’s paws. Hence, it’s important to safeguard your pet’s delicate paw pads from the summer heat. Paw balm will help keep your pet’s paws nourished and protected. Prefer using vet-recommended products like shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil. It creates a barrier between the ground and the paw pad against any sort of burns.

Groom your pet: Regular grooming can help keep your pet cool during the summer months. Brushing their fur regularly helps remove excess hair and promotes airflow to their skin. Hair is required to keep the body cool ss it also protects from uv radiation and other environmental pollutants. It is advised not to trim or cut hairs. Only hygiene cuts are allowed.

Furry friends experience discomfort in extreme summer, leading to parched throats and dehydration. For the benefit of animals, please make sure to keep them hydrated and consult a vet in case of any emergency. Thus, summer can be a challenging time for pets. By following these tips, you can protect your furry friend from the heat and keep them healthy and happy during summer.

* Veterinary Physician, Happy Tails Veterinary Speciality, Mumbai.

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