Harsh Indian summers are particularly stressful for our animal friends. Dehydration deaths occur frequently during these months and it is important to take these precautions. “As pets don't sweat through the skin, their body temperature is much higher than that of humans,” says veterinarian Dr. S.V. Sujatha, who says all breeds of cats and dogs need 24 hour access to clean water throughout the year.

“It is very difficult to revive a pet that has had heat stroke. Even a two to three degree increase in temperature will damage the brain. Ensure that water is available to them at all times and check for dehydration symptoms such as dryness of mouth and sluggishness. Water intake must correspond to urine output – check this during walks. And some pets prefer wet food in summer.”

Apart from keeping full water bowls in at least two spots within the house, care must be taken to ensure that the pet is kept strictly indoors to protect them from the elements. Dogs that are left or tied outdoors (especially with irregular water access) could die of sun exposure and as a general rule, it is not advisable to relegate a pet to the outdoors for multiple safety reasons. Keeping them in kennels or other structures that do not protect them from the elements is also a huge risk.

While indoors, pets must have access to breeze from a fan at all times. Dogs must be taken outdoors only for walks and during non-peak hours such as early mornings or after sunset. Last and certainly not the least, a large number of animals (and infants) die in locked cars every summer around the world. It is not advisable to leave a pet or baby inside a locked vehicle (even if the windows are rolled down) for even one minute as the temperature shoots up rapidly inside vehicles and could cause instant death. If you are likely to need to park and will not be able to take your pet along, play it safe: leave him behind at home.