Why you should treat your pet to icy ‘pupsicles’
Everything you need to help your pet stay cool this summer
The right diet
Overfeeding is never a good idea. It’s also advisable to keep pets on a liquid diet or feed them something light, such as fruits and vegetables. “You can give them watermelon and musk melon without the seeds. Cold apples and carrots are ideal too,” says Poorvaja Kumar, founder of the Facebook page Humans of Canines. Kumar is a certified canine trainer, veterinary assistant and co-founder of Woof Woof Walkers, a Delhi-based initiative.
Megha Mishra, a Delhi-based social development professional, usually lets her four-year-old desi indie, August, lie on the floor. “He likes to chill on the floor, which is usually cooler than his mattress. He also likes to stay in the cooler part of the house, which doesn’t get much sunlight,” says Mishra.
Understand your pet’s comfort zone. Dogs tend to follow a routine. “If you are in an apartment, then it’s very important to choose the right locations for your pet. Try finding a cooler environment for them. Some dogs prefer sitting in the passageway. Some owners even prefer keeping them close to the bathroom. But it is important to ensure dogs are not sitting on a wet surface. It can cause skin problems to high-coat varieties like golden retrievers and German shepherds,” says Shalaka Mundada, founder of PetSitters, a Pune-based luxury resort for dogs.
There could be times when you have to leave your pet alone at home. This is where dog cameras can come in handy. Furbo, for instance, is an interactive smart dog camera that also works as a treat dispenser. The camera, which can be bought online, sends regular “dog activity” and “real-time barking” alerts on your smartphone. It can store 100 round-shaped treats that can be dispensed any time. There is also a two-way pet camera which lets you hear and speak to your pet.
“It is important to keep changing the water in their water bowls frequently since their own saliva can make the water undrinkable. The more frequently you change their water, the more they will drink and stay hydrated,” says Mundada.
Pet owners can also look at other sources of hydration. You will find a never-ending list of recipes for the perfect pet popsicle, or “pupsicles”, on the internet. You can try everything from apple-honey pupsicles to chicken and bacon popsicles.
Mundada says you could opt for ice rather than water. “Popsicles and ice stay cooler longer. The only problem with water is that the more quickly they gulp it down, the more quickly they will want to get it out of their body. Popsicles will not only keep them cool and take time to melt, but also be a nice source of nutrition,” she adds.
If you are stepping out with your pet, you can use portable water bowl sippers like Aqua Dog. Carry the filled container, and, when your pet feels thirsty, just squeeze to fill the bowl attached on the top. Once they have had the water, you can release the container to drain the water back into the bottle. “In case your dog is staying at a kennel, then you should ensure they get at least 20-30% more hydration since they might feel stressed out in a kennel environment,” Mundada adds.
Keep the coat
Chances are you might have seen some people walking big dogs (like golden retrievers and St Bernards) with a part of their coats shaved. Many pet owners feel this might help their dogs breathe easy. But that might not be true. “Never shave your dog’s coat. It’s the worst thing you could do because if you shave it, the dog’s skin will be directly exposed to the sun’s rays. A lot of veterinary clinics advise shaving the coat, but you shouldn’t do that,” says Kumar. “The coat is meant both for winters and summers. It works as an insulator during the summers,” she adds.
If you still fear that the heat will cause your pet discomfort, then you can try cooling vests from brands like Ruffwear and PupPal. These use evaporation to keep your pets cool and come with an inner water-repellent coating that ensures your pet’s skin doesn’t become wet.
Avoid walking your pet when the sun is at its highest. Walk them early in the morning or late in the evening. In addition, “a lot of outdoor games are advised, such as swimming. Dogs that don’t like water can be taken close to sprinklers or you can play fetch with them in a shaded area or close to a water body,” Kumar adds.
Paws need love
In summers, the surface of the road becomes very hot. To protect your pet’s paws, veterinarians say, you should apply coconut oil or petroleum jelly regularly on paws to keep the skin safe and cool.
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