They are also vulnerable to heat strokes, dehydration, etc.,

Three-and-a-half-year-old Labrador Retriever Dingu has a revised diet plan in place, bathes more frequently than usual and spends a major part of the daytime indoors.

Dingu’s summer diet includes reduced amount of dog food, and more of curd and fruits.

“Instead of taking Dingu for his usual morning walks, we take him for evening walks. He pants a lot in summer and spends most part of the daytime under the fan. At night, he prefers to stay outdoors,” says S. Chidambaran, Dingu’s owner.

Just like people, pets too are vulnerable to heat strokes, dehydration and other health issues during summer, therefore, they need extra care and attention, say experts.

S. Vinayagamoorthy, who owns a 20-year-old kennel in the city, says, “In summer, we bathe our dogs twice a week, provide them enough space to move about with good ventilation and give them more of semi-solid foods instead of the dry dog foods.”

His advice to pet owners is that they should take them for walks either before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

“Do not let them remain in moist places because that will lead to skin infections. Add curd and watermelon to their daily food. Indian breeds such as Rajapalayam and Sippiparai hounds can withstand the hot temperature up to 40 degree Celsius, whereas foreign breeds find adjusting to the heat more difficult,” he adds.

According to K. Vairavasamy, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon at the Government Polyclinic, fresh water should be provided to pets at periodic intervals.

“In canines, hairy breeds may not withstand the heat. There are chances of them developing heat strokes or nasal bleeding. In such cases, keep ice cubes on their forehead and arrest bleeding,” he suggests.

Cats generally do not venture out in summer, and that is why they are less prone to summer ailments compared to canines, he says. “However, cats may suffer indigestion and rectal complications if they are not provided sufficient water,” Mr. Vairavasamy adds. He advises pet owners to apply phlegmatic skin oils on their pets, because frequent bathing during summer would lead to dry skin. Adequate mineral and vitamin supplements should be ensured, he concludes.

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