Pet Care Mistakes To Avoid
By Dr Jiyaul Hoque
Summer heat can pose serious risks to our furry companions. As responsible pet parents, it’s our duty to ensure they stay healthy and safe. Pet parents must be aware of the changes in diet, grooming, and lifestyle needed for the change in season.
Getting grooming and hygiene wrong
A fresh summer haircut can beat the heat, but it is not advised to shave your dog completely as their coat protects them from overheating and sunburn. Dogs have delicate skin and should not be over-bathed either. Excessive scratching and licking could hint at summer allergies or parasites. For cats, brushing them more often can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. Make sure that any sunscreen or wipes you may be using are pet safe.
Not adapting your pet’s diet for summer
The heat affects your pet’s digestive system so cooling foods rich in probiotics should be added to their diet. Watermelon and curds are some good summer treats, and swapping red meats for white meats like chicken would be ideal. Pre-packaged dry and wet food recommended by vets is nutritionally balanced and can be a better alternative in the heat.
Forgetting precautions on daily walks
Choose the coolest time of the day for walks as roads can remain hot into the evening and burn paws, increasing body temperature and leading to overheating. Don’t over-excite your dog or cat in the summer, take breaks from playing in the shade. Make sure they are well hydrated by keeping a portable water bowl handy.
Overlooking your pet’s safety
In summer we leave doors and windows open which is dangerous for curious pets. If you are planning a pool party with your pet, keep watch no matter how good they are at swimming. If you’re going on a road trip never leave your pet in the car unattended, even in ‘just five minutes’ they can overheat.
Missing signs of heatstroke
Young/elderly pets, those with heart and lung issues, overweight, small breeds, and breeds from cooler regions or with flat faces, are prone to heatstroke. Look out for excessive panting, difficulty breathing, drooling, lethargy, and even difficulty balancing. Take your pet to a cool shaded area, and either pour room-temperature water on their body to cool them down, use a wet towel to wipe the body, or place an icepack between their legs. If your pet gets worse, has diarrhea, or starts vomiting, take it immediately to your veterinarian.