Our animal companions need to be shielded from the approaching summer sun at all costs
Summer is just round the corner, and brings with it a host of risks for our companion animals. With temperatures rising, it’s advisable to keep pets indoors at all times – leaving them in open terraces, outdoor kennels or any other area where they are exposed to the sun is a bad idea. They could suffer from dehydration, sun stroke or nose bleeds, and in many cases, the exposure is fatal.
Being within the home and with access to a fan (since moving air is helpful) is ideal. Since thirst can strike at any time, a bowl of fresh, clean water must be available 24 hours a day for both cats and dogs (as opposed to sporadic access). Walking schedules must be adjusted to ensure only early morning or late evening walks, as tar roads can burn paws.
Strenuous games or exercise are best avoided during summer. A common cause of death is leaving pets in vehicles even for very short periods of time, while the owner dashes into a bank or grocery store. Even a minute inside a locked car can kill an animal, as temperatures shoot up rapidly in a closed vehicle – the risk is high even if the windows are rolled down. Last summer, the Humane Society of Canada initiated a campaign called ‘The Heat is On’ and urged pet-owners to take a brief jog wearing sweaters on a summer day, to get an idea about how it feels for our furry friends.
With increasing expansion of cities, birds struggle to find natural water sources.
Maharashtra-based conservationists at Nature Forever Society recommend providing clean bowls of drinking water for birds in the neighbourhood.
Their countrywide ‘Help Birds in Summer’ project suggests using earthen vessels (not metal or plastic) and recommends floating sticks in the water so that small birds can roost while they sip.
They add that bowls must be rinsed everyday without the use of chemicals or soaps.
For detailed guidelines on how to care for animals during the summer, visit www.aspca.org and type ‘Hot Weather Tips’ in their search section.
The NGO lists lethargy, sunken eyes, appetite loss and dry mouths as symptoms of dehydration and recommends immediate veterinary care if these signs are spotted.