It’s summer time and it’s time for activities like hiking, swimming or spending afternoons out in the park for outdoor time in the sun. With the beginning of summer weather, pet owners need to get their pets ready for the hot weather months ahead.

We forget that our pets have different needs in the heat of summer than we do. Summer also brings unique risks to your dog's health that you should keep in mind throughout the season. By following a few summer pet safety tips, you can keep your animal friends healthy and enjoy the months of sun and fun.

According to Dr K G Umesh , Director , Scientific Regulatory Affairs, South East Asia, Mars India, “Dogs can’t perspire efficiently like us and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. Air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body.

As it is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when the animal is in close quarters.

However, by following a few summers pet safety tips, you can keep your animal friends healthy and enjoy the months of sun and fun to the fullest.”

Some tips to take care of your dogs in the hot summer month:

Never leave your pet in the car: When traveling by car in the summer, never leave your dog unattended. Heatstroke and death can occur within minutes of being exposed to warm temperatures.

Make sure the crate is well ventilated; put a sunshade on your car windows; bring along fresh water and a bowl and a tarp or tent so you can set up a shady spot when you stop. Also if you see other animal in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store.

And, if the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police

Water, water everywhere: Whether you're indoors or out, both you and your pet need access to lots of fresh water during the summer, so check her water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full. If you and your furry friend venture forth for the afternoon, bring plenty of water for both of you

Feeding: Dogs tend to eat less in summer but they end up spending more energy in an effort to lower their body temperatures.

A lot of pet owners tend to feed home-made diets like curds and rice during the summers, but it is very important to note that this food contains more water (70-80%) and does not have adequate levels of energy, vitamins, minerals, etc.

· A well-balanced nutritionally complete and energy dense diet like Pedigree dry food, which also contains some natural antioxidants and confers some protection against the effects of heat stress to the pet

· It is also important to feed pets during the cooler part of the day and increase frequency of feeding to ensure that total recommended quantity of pet food is fed to your pet

Say no to tangles: Keeping your pet well groomed will help their hair do what it was designed to do: protect them from the sun and insulate her from the heat. Furry dog breeds should be well clipped during this season as the thick coat makes them feel hotter. It also makes it a home for bacteria and parasites

Keep their bed cool: Remove cushiony bedding from your dog's crate or bed. They may be more comfortable lying on the cooler bottom rather than on blankets or fleece

Make sure your pet doesn't Overexert: Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight, which helps them body stay cool, overdoing it can cause her to overheat. Save exercise sessions for early morning or after the sun goes down.

Your dog will appreciate the cooler temperatures—and so will you! Check the ground during walks. Blacktop can get scorching hot for your dog's pads. Touch the surface yourself—if it's too hot for you, it's probably too hot for your dog as well

Put a lid on it: This is that time of the year when dogs are tempted to drink cold water from toilet bowls. So keep the lid down and try to avoid chemical cleaners and fresheners that stay in the bowl

Bring them inside: Animals shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your pet in the backyard, keep a close eye on her and bring her in when you can

Keep an eye out for heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, you must act quickly and calmly. If you see that your dog is panting heavily, salivating or foaming, these may be the first signs of a heat-related problem.

The hallmark of heat-stroke is severe central nervous system (brain) disturbance and is often associated with multi-organ dysfunction. Get your dog to a cool location, provide small drinks of cold water, and, if he doesn't improve within a few minutes, contact your veterinarian

Dr. Umesh further adds, “Dogs may spend more energy in an effort to lower the body temperature during periods of increased panting.

The energy requirement increases with the rise in temperatures and therefore, it is important that they eat more during summer and if, their intake has reduced then they should be compensated by feeding energy dense or nutritional balanced pet food”

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