The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded the highest heat index for the year in multiple places across the country. The heat index, simply put, is how “humans perceive or feel the temperature affecting their body.” This is always higher than the actual recorded temperature. Last Wednesday, the heat index reached 41 degrees in Quezon City and 45 degrees in Dagupan, Pangasinan, both temperatures considered to be within the danger zone. The highest maximum heat index recorded was 53 degrees in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte at 2 pm.
If the summer is cruel for us humans, it’s cruel for our pets too. We aren’t even halfway through summer so, expect warmer days ahead. In this sweltering heat, it’s important that we remember to take care of our pets properly. Here are a few tips on how you can do it at home:
Make sure they never run out of cool, clean water
The “stay hydrated” reminder isn’t only for our human loved ones, it’s for our fur babies too. Our pets need to increase their fluid intake to combat dehydration. Easy-to-spot signs of a dehydrated animal include lethargy, panting, and dry nose and gums. Make sure you keep an eye out for their drinking bowls and refill with cool water when needed.
Let them stay in the cooler areas of your home
Your bathroom and laundry area are generally cooler than the rest of your home, so it would benefit your pets if they get to lounge around the cool tiles. If you’re blessed enough to have air-conditioning units, keep your pets inside those rooms as much as possible.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion
The normal body temperature of dogs and cats ranges from 38.3 to 39.2 degrees celsius. Any higher than that and they’d be at the risk of heatstroke and overheating. The symptoms include excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, weak body, and wobbly legs. When these warning signs are evident, move your pet to a cool place immediately and give them water to drink. Call up your vet if their condition doesn’t improve within a few hours.
Don’t take them out for a walk if the temperature is scorching
Taking your dog out for a walk when the sun is high in the sky could give them sunburn and could even burn their paws. If you manage to walk your dog even during the quarantine, do it early in the morning or at dusk, when the pavement should’ve already cooled down. Make sure you bring water with you and that you keep to the shade. Otherwise, don’t walk your pet at all! Just play with them at home in the meantime to keep them safe.
Beware of over-exercising dogs
Your floofers want to play — that’s a given. But during extremely hot weather we should be wary of overdoing it, as this could lead to overheating. High-energy activities should be kept at a minimum.
Don’t ever leave them in parked cars
This should go without saying. Cars heat up pretty quickly. Even if you crack the window open, your pet could die an agonizing death within 10 minutes or even less. So never, ever leave your pets inside your car.
Wet towels, pools, and cold treats
Another way to keep your pets cool, especially dogs, is by letting them wade around and play in small pools. Not every Filipino has a huge backyard in their houses for swimming pools but we do have huge plangganas or basins. For cats, especially those who have a burning hatred for taking baths, you can opt to wipe them down with a damp towel instead.
And if you’re a little extra, you can make cold treats for your pets such as simple ice cubes, frozen yogurt, frozen fruits, or even frozen cat or dog food.
Trim their fur, don’t shave!
Unlike humans who get uncomfortable with long hair during the summer and often opt for getting a haircut, our fluffy friends aren’t at all uncomfortable with theirs. Their fur is designed in a way that would keep them cool when they’re too warm, and warm when they’re too cold. Shaving it off would make it easier for them to overheat and to get sunburned. But you can trim a little bit of their hair if you absolutely need to.
Do you know any other tips in keeping your pets cool during the summer?