The Malaysian weather is either too hot or too rainy. Sometimes it’s both in a day.
And although we may not be covered with full fur and fuzz all over our bodies, we know when it’s a really hot and humid day.
Hence keeping our furkids warm and cozy on a cold rainy day is not a big issue, but rather it’s the keeping them cool during a warm day that’s the issue.
Without proper cooling and hydration, warm and sunny days with heat waves can easily cause your pet to overheat and dehydrate.
Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry mouth, gums and nose as well as poor skin elasticity. An at-home dehydration test can be carried out by checking:
- The elasticity of the skin at the back of your dog’s neck. If the skin doesn’t immediately spring back to its normal position, your dog may be dehydrated. The severity of the dehydration is congruent to the amount of time it takes for the skin to return to its normal position.
- Your dog’s mouth for capillary refill time. All it takes is pressing your finger against their gums until they turn white and removing your finger. If the gums fail to immediately regain colour, your dog may be dehydrated.
It’s crucial that your doggo receives immediate medical attention if you suspect they may be dehydrated. Left untreated, it can lead to organ failure and death.
Overheated dogs on the other hand may appear to be disorientated, have fast noisy breathing and are panting. Other signs also include collapsing or convulsing, bright red or blue gums, vomiting and diarrhea.
Affected dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke or sudden death from cardiac arrhythmias, thus making it also an urgent reason for medical attention.
However, dehydration and overheating is a problem that’s best prevented than cured. Hence, here are 7 tips to keep your pet cool in this tropical weather.
1. Brush and groom, not shave
An animal’s coat is designed to keep it warm in the winter and cool during the summer. By shaving off their fur, not only are we interfering with this built-in temperature regulation but also putting them in harm’s way of other risks and dangers.
The no-shave rule does not only apply to the floofy and double-coated breeds like Samoyeds, Huskies, Malamutes and Golden Retrievers, but also single coated breeds. The job of this coat of fur is to protect them from sunburn and provide insulation from the heat. The fur allows air to circulate under it which then helps lower the body temperature.
Therefore, shaving your pet’s coat on a hot day can cause sun stroke, sunburn and also future skin conditions due to scarring and irritation from the close shave.
What you could do is to brush your pet to remove the dead undercoat which allows air to better circulate near the skin, keeping your pet cooler. Plus, removing the dead and matted hair by brushing helps the skin stay drier and reduce the chances of them contracting moist dermatitis (also known as hot spots), a skin infection.
2. Do not spray directly with water
Your pet isn’t a freshly boiled egg or an overheated motor engine. Pouring or spraying water directly at them would do the opposite of cool them down.
Water would weigh down the coat and prevent the skin from aerating out the heat. This causes your pet to then produce a large amount of heat especially around vital organs.
Instead, you can cautiously spray or mist water over the top of your pet. That may help with the heat and turn into a fun game for a water-loving pet!
Another idea for the water loving pet would be to take them swimming. Be it splashing around a kiddie pool or an actual doggy pool, it’s an excellent exercise as an alternative to walking in the heat for dogs.
4. Planning your walks
Perhaps your pet isn’t much of a fan of water play and would very much prefer a walk or a run on dry land.
If that’s the case an early morning or evening walk would be a cooler and more pleasant walk around the neighbourhood for them. If it’s going to be quite a long walk, do remember to bring along some clean water and a dish for their safe hydration!
5. Frozen treats
Dog-friendly ice creams, pupsicles made from their favourite broth or a frozen piece of fruit makes the perfect summer treat for a doggo.
Plus, it also gives fur parents the perfect opportunity to sneak in extra nutrients into their furkid’s diets through DIY pet snacks. For example, bone broth ice cubes made from boiling chicken feet is a great source of collagen for joint health!
These treats can also be hidden inside a toy like a Kong to make it a delicious puzzle to solve as it gradually melts.
PS: You might want to feed these frozen treats in an easy-to-clean area as things could get messy as it melts.
6. Cooling pads
These pads are created to cool down your pets by utilising different conducting mediums such as gel, water or air. For instance, one type contains a pressure-activated gel that absorbs heat from your pet who’s lying on it. It then “recharges” and chills when your pet leaves the pad.
Another type of cooling bad utilises cold water which absorbs and redistributes your pet’s body heat. It’s typically made with scratch-resistant and durable material which may be less prone to punctures and leaks after wear and tear.
Finally there’s also an elevated cot type of cooling pad is made with mesh that lifts your pet off the floor. The air circulation beneath it is what helps to cool them down.
Best part is that they’re easily purchasable online or could be a fun DIY project!
7. Some good ol’ shade and clean water
Nothing beats the good old shade and readily found water in helping your pet regulate their body temperatures on a warm sunny day. If you’d like to get fancy, some ice cubes in their water bowl may help too as it’ll give their water a tinge of coldness.
Hence, whether it’s at home or at a park, do ensure that your furkid has a nice shaded area to rest in once they’re done sunbathing or running about in the sun!
Keeping your pet cool in tropical weather does not have to be expensive or difficult. Besides having shade and water, a fur parent’s attentiveness is also key to ensure that your pet is getting adequate rest and cool down periods between zoomies under the sun.