Here’s how you can keep your pets, animals & birds around us, cool this summer!

They fill your life with happiness, are always there waiting for you when you get home, eager to be taken out for a walk or just cuddle, do not expect anything in return; ah animals, birds and pets, they truly make life that much better with their unconditional love! What can be more fun than playing with your kids and dog in the summer sun in the evening? Or tending to the little birds by giving them some water?! Or visiting the nearest animal shelter and grooming the camels, cows and other animals?

But now is the time when they, cats and dogs especially, can be grumpy, irritable and restless, because of the relentless and hot weather this summer, which is yet to hit its peak! Like us, animals get dehydrated and overheated faster, which makes it hard to handle for them. For dogs and cats with fur and no sweat glands, they feel the heat immediately, which makes them sluggish and ill sometimes.

So, while you are taking care of your pets at home, also spare a thought for the animals, strays and birds out there in the sweltering hot heat. Many more birds and animals die during summer alone due of severe heat stroke and dehydration. Here are some helpful tips to keep animals and birds, cool and safe this summer:

1. Help animals & birds:
Do your bit this summer and put a mud/earthen bowl with fresh, clean and cool water outside your home or where there are homeless or working animals. For the thirsty birds, place bowls of water on windowsills, in balconies, on terraces, in gardens or open spaces. Keep replenishing the water regularly. You can also make Eco-friendly bird feeders to hang on trees too, using coconut shells or earthen pots. Plastic is a strict no for feeders and water hangers for birds and animals; as it can turn toxic with direct sunlight.

2. Keep an eye on other animals too:
Whenever you are out or are aware of places where there are working animals, ask their owners to give the working animals regular breaks. Usually, there are bullocks and donkeys, and horses and camels at children’s parks; ask them to let the animals rest, especially during the afternoon. You can also help them cool off by spraying water on them or feed working animals fruit as a sweet treat. If you find an animal in distress, contact an animal welfare organisation or veterinarian for help. You can also consult a vet and give birds multi-vitamin supplements which will help in boosting immunity levels in pigeons, sparrows, parrots and other birds and also protects them from Ranikhet disease and RD virus, which are rampant in summer.

3. Exercise during cool hours:
In this hot weather, the ideal time to take your pet out is early morning or late evening, when it is much cooler. Keep them inside since they are at a higher risk of dehydration or heatstroke. The hot road or asphalt can burn pets’ paws, be sure to make them walk in the shade or on grass. You can try little shoes/booties for your dog so his paws don’t burn. For pets with light or white colored coats, avoid direct sunlight; else they might get sunburned. And breeds with shorter noses, sometimes tend to have breathing difficulty; so do not push them too much during their walks. Carry water along for both.

Cool Animals, Happy Animals!

4. Keep them in the shade:
Make sure that there is a lot of shade and protection from the hot sun, if you keep your pets outdoors. If you see any animal out in the hot sun, do the needful or request its owner to put it in the shade. Also keep sufficient cold water within reach to drink; occasionally put in some ice cubes or ice-cold water in their bowls when the weather is extremely hot. If you intend to go away for a long duration of time, it is best to not leave your pets outside even in the shade because they can become overheated, especially during a heat wave. Keep them inside where it is cooler and safer for them.

5. Cool off in water:
Just like us, animals and birds too love to cool off in water when the heat soars, so fill up a shallow, plastic kiddie pool or large tub with water and let your pet dog play around or just lie down in water. If possible, as a feel good factor, order a water tanker for an animal shelter or the animal shed near your home. It is something that they love, it is great for your pet and will make a memorable video too.

Cool Animals, Happy Animals!

6. Watch out for heatstroke signs:
It is better to be safe than sorry, so keep an eye out for these signs and be prepared. If an animal or your pet has heavy panting, excessive water consumption, disorientation; then they are signs of heatstroke. Immediately move the animal or pet to a cool, air-conditioned place, apply cold ice packs or towels to the head, neck and chest or put your pet in the bathtub; and gently run cool (not cold) water over the body. It will make them feel better. In case, they don’t seem normal and show signs of physical distress, rush it to your vet or local emergency animal clinic for quick medical care. If you see a bird that has fainted due to exhaustion, give it some water or glucose water and tend to it, until it gets better.

7. Never ever leave your pet in the car:
Never ever, not even for a few minutes, leave your pet in your car; since there are chances that you might get delayed. Most importantly, because even though it is not very hot outside, the temperature inside a closed car can soar higher, the longer it is closed. Instead, leave your dog at home or a kennel service or go places where you can take your pet. Dogs left inside a hot car can die due to heatstroke within minutes, even if it is not in direct sunlight.

Cool Animals, Happy Animals!

8. Keep your home cool:
If you do intend to leave your pet, animal or bird, alone at home, make sure to leave the air conditioner on, close the curtains; if you do not have an AC, open the windows, turn on the fan and keep sufficient cool water around for it to drink. Alternatively you can try on the cooling vests for your pet that you can buy online, to see if they help.

Cool Animals, Happy Animals!

9. Cool treats for your pet:
Why should only we enjoy the cool treats in this hot weather?! There are tons of recipes online that you can try and make some cool treats for your dear pet and help it chill from the inside out. Check with your vet, if your pet has any existing problems, before you indulge. For starters, you can make puppy Popsicle or ice cubes with tasty treats inside or freeze a chewy toy to enjoy. Make a few extra and give them to the stray dogs outside your home.

10. Groom your pet for this summer:
Get rid of the mats and tangles, if any, that your pet has so that it helps your dog cool off. Take your vet’s advice before you shave or clip your pet’s coat since the layers on your pet’s coat actually help protect them from overheating, sunburn and keep them cool in summer.

11. Be alert about breeds:
If you have a snub-nosed pet, like a Pug, Bulldog, Pekingese, Boston terriers or Persian cats, then keep a watchful eye since their smaller airways make it harder for them to release heat when they pant. Same goes for old, overweight dogs or one with heart and breathing problems, they are more susceptible to heat stroke so be especially careful with breeds like these in hot weather and keep plenty of water nearby.

12. Water, water and more water
Water is the savior, more so, during the hot summer; since animals and birds get dehydrated quickly. So, keep water bowls in different places of the house for your pet, outside the house for strays and birds; so that water is available to them all the time. Panting actually lets animals cool down because it helps evaporate fluids from the respiratory tract; so you can help replace these fluids and prevent dehydration by giving water or its alternatives all through the day. Water alternatives, such as icy treats are good too since they help replace electrolytes and also taste great.