Dealing with summer pet care challenges


If you minus the heat, summers are all about fun, isn’t it? The same is for your pets in summers. They can be extremely uncomfortable. With their normal body temperatures being warmer than that of ours, and a built-in fur coat, summer can be downright unbearable for our canine companions. And, therefore, using common procedures can definitely help us keep our pets cool and comfortable.

Dogs can’t perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. 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.

Heat retreat

We must understand and keep in mind that our pets are covered with hair and their body temperatures are much higher than that of humans. Moreover, they do not sweat to cool off; they pant and look for cool surfaces to cool Ideally, one must avoid exposure to sunlight for the pets for more than an hour. However, if they spend time in the open or outdoors, one must ensure that they get proper shade and a lot of water to avoid heat, exhaustion, and dehydration.

Don’t leave your pet in parked cars for any period of time

Every summer, animals who are left in parked cars suffer brain damage and die from heatstroke. On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature in a car can reach 120°C in a matter of minutes. If you see an animal in a parked car during the summer, alert the management of the shopping mall or grocery store. And, if the pet parent does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police.


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 parents tend to feed homemade diets like curds and rice during the summers, but it is very important to note that this food contains more water (70-80 percent) 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.
  • One also needs to provide them with plenty of fresh water in summer.
  • 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.

Groom pets for summer

Puppies with too much fur should be well groomed during summer time. 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.


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.

Think inside the house

Keep your dog indoors when you go out for more than an hour. If possible, restrict them to rooms with either air conditioning or a fan.

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.

Give your dog space

Dogs, like people, can get grumpy when it’s hot. Remind young children that their hugs may not be appreciated on stifling days.

Hose them down

Try a gentle spray of cool water. Keep in mind that it may take you a few tries before your pooch enjoys the experience. If it goes according to plan, he’ll feel happy and refreshed once he’s all nice and wet.

Watch out for symptoms of heat stress or stroke

If you notice any of these signs/ symptoms in your pet during summer, these may be the first signs of a heat-related problem- Excessive panting or gasping for breath, seeking shade, reduced food intake, reduced activity, muscle spasms/muscle tremors, fatigue, weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea and depression. 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. 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.

(Dr KG Umesh is Waltham Scientific Communication Manager, MARS India)

  • One must avoid exposure to sunlight for the pets for more than
    an hour.
  • One must ensure that the pets get proper shade.
  • Try and restrict the pets to rooms with either air conditioning
    or a fan.