The scorching UAE desert summer is here, making us pant and sweat after two minutes of being in the unbearable weather. Now think about your pets with all that extra fur, feathers and thicker skin. They are surely suffering way more than us. The typical house pet of the canine and feline variety, have a harder time keeping cool because their bodies do not have sweat glands, which means that, unlike humans, they cannot release heat by perspiration. That’s why your dog (and sometimes even your cat) pants — they are releasing heat from their bodies.
This process, unfortunately, leaves them susceptible to dehydration and heatstroke, which can be fatal if not treated properly. For pet parents (or paw-rents), this means being especially vigilant towards their pets’ safety.
Dogs are the most common household pet and every single one requires some amount of exercise. The Dubai heat poses a challenge in this arena. Limit the walks only to early mornings and late evenings. When you step out of the house, check the temperature of the pavement, sand or tarmac by pressing the back of your hand or barefoot on the ground for five seconds — if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. To give you an idea of how much the ground can heat up, if it’s 31°C the sidewalk can be up to 62°C.
Heavy panting in a dog or cat is a sign to retreat to a shaded area and give them some water. Hydration is key because while panting helps fight off the heat, it also dehydrates the body.
Try to keep your pet’s water cooler with ice, at least at home. You can use a misting spray as well, especially for birds in outdoor aviaries. For birds, ensure plenty of water, and shade. Excess heat is very much fatal to the feathered pals.
As much as possible keep your pets indoors. After a short romp outside, let them find a cool spot indoors and relax. High humidity and heat levels can compromise your pets’ cooling abilities. In July and August, when humidity is particularly high, it’s best to keep your pet indoors, and outdoor activities to a minimum. Make sure they don’t sit directly under the air conditioning stream. When trying to find a cooler place, pets usually lay down straight in the way of the direct cool current. This can cause illnesses. Try to guide them to sit on the opposite side of the current by keeping their mattress in a corner away from it.
Keep pet food light in the summer. This is the time when you need to think about more balanced and light food. Consult your veterinarian on options that suit your pet. The more healthy they are the better they can handle the heat. Don’t forget to treat all the family including four-legged members with a delicious slice of watermelon. It is a great tactic for hydration and full of vitamin A, B-6, and C as well as potassium. Make sure to remove the seeds first.
Watch out for these signs
Rapid panting, pale or reddish gums, thick saliva, vomiting, dizziness, or wobbly legs