Heatwave ahead: Tips to take care of your animal companion during harsh summer - Hindustan Times
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Heatwave ahead: Tips to take care of your animal companion during harsh summer

By, New Delhi
Apr 04, 2024 05:15 PM IST

Heatwaves can adversely impact your furry friends causing a range of health issues and even death. Here are tips to safeguard your animal companions.

Summers can be particularly tough for your furry friends as they are prone to heat related illnesses like dehydration, overheating, paw burns from hot surface, and heat stroke. Short-nosed breeds, dogs with thick coats, elderly dogs, puppies, and those with certain medical conditions such as heart disease or obesity are more susceptible to heat-related issues in summer. This year, Indian Meteorological Department has predicted an intense heat wave from April to June and it's crucial for pet parents to adopt measures that safeguard them from the harsh summer. (Also read: Nutrition tips to boost mental health and well-being of your pet buddy)

The visible signs of heat stress in animals include panting, increased salivation, increased respiration rate, loss of appetite, increased water intake, lethargy, and dry nose due to dehydration.(Freepik)
The visible signs of heat stress in animals include panting, increased salivation, increased respiration rate, loss of appetite, increased water intake, lethargy, and dry nose due to dehydration.(Freepik)

Heatwaves adversely affect humans and animals and causes physiological stress as well as death. Young pets, animals with dark skin or fur, sick animals, pigs, newly shorn sheep, and lactating animals are at higher risk from heatwaves. The visible signs of heat stress in animals include panting, increased salivation, increased respiration rate, loss of appetite, increased water intake, lethargy, and dry nose due to dehydration.

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By Jaihari A K, Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness, Response and Relief shares tips to safeguard your animal companions from heatwave:

To alleviate the effects of heatwave on animals:

1. Proper hydration and access to shaded areas

Make sure that animals have access to shaded areas, and plenty of fresh, clean water. Check their water sources regularly to make sure they are not empty or contaminated. It is advisable to keep the animals indoors, or in temporarily shaded places where there is enough ventilation for air circulation, so they stay cool and hydrated during peak temperatures.

2. Adjust feeding schedules

Changing feeding schedules to cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late evening, can help in keeping the animals cool. Avoid feeding livestock with foods that can easily heat up as it can cause excess heat generation in the stomach.

3. Check for signs of heat stress and exhaustion

Continued exposure to elevated temperatures may cause heat stress which causes the animal’s body temperature to rise and make them uncomfortable. If this exposure persists, it can progress into a heat stroke, a serious condition, where the body temperature increases at alarming levels causing organ failure and even death. Never ignore signs like increased panting, thirst, and weakness.

Do watch for the visible signs of heat stress in animals and move them to a cooler area and provide water. Dousing the animals with cool (not cold) water, patting them with a wet cloth or ice packs can also provide relief and bring down the core body temperature. It is always better to contact your veterinarian and seek advice immediately when you notice these signs.

4. Take care of your pets when outside

Animal caretakers should make sure that their pet is not left alone in a parked car during hot weather as it is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal. Avoid over-exercising animals during hot weather, as it can lead to heat exhaustion and dehydration. Try to walk your pets on grass or shaded areas instead of hot pavements to avoid burnt paws.

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