The heat can be uncomfortable and dangerous to both animals and humans, acknowledged the Humane Society of the United States, a non-profit organization. Hence, pets and owners alike may experience difficulty in coping with rising temperatures, as well as humidity.
Unfortunately, things may get tougher in areas that are hit with extreme heat and power outages caused by storms. Nevertheless, owners should take extra precaution in helping their pets cool off under the heat, particularly during the summer.
Feline Drinking Habits and Water Requirements (2018)
Julia Fritz and Stefanie Handl of Royal Canin, a French pet food company, received a total of 549 questionnaires for evaluation, with the gender split for the cats almost 50% male-female. Nearly all of the cats were neutered and two-thirds were domestic shorthairs. The most widely represented pure breeds were Maine Coon (5%), British Shorthair (4%), Persians and Siamese (both at 3%).
71% of cats were fed solely commercial pet food, 26% were fed a combination of commercial pet food and home-prepared food, and 3% were given home-prepared food (cooked and/or raw). Only 17% of cats were fed with wet food alone while 36% were given mainly wet food but little dry food. 8% were fed with dry food alone while 19% were given mainly dry food, little wet food. Only 8% were given dry food alone.
Majority of the cats (>80%) were given water in bowls, with cat fountains being the most popular alternative. Among cats that had access to both options, most of them preferred the bowl. The most common material used in water bowls were ceramics (60%) and plastic (38%). Bowls made from metal (35%) and glass (13%) were less frequently used.
Interestingly, 44% of cats drank and played with the water. The common water source was freshwater and the cats preferred tap water if alternative sources were available. Outdoor cats were also found to enjoy drinking rainwater. 27% of owners often gave their cats fluids other than water to drink such as milk or “cat milk” (lactose-free milk).
While outdoor cats used more water points than purely bred house cats, 52% of owners provided several sources of water for their pets. For instance, 41% of households placed a water bowl right next to their cat’s food bowl. Further, when given with several options, the owners preferred water points in a room other than those placed in the same location as the food bowl.
The authors concluded that cats can meet their fluid requirements so long as they are fed high-water content, which can either be commercial wet food or home-prepared meat). However, the felines’ overall fluid intake will be lower if they are fed with mainly or only dry food. Owners should be mindful of their cat’s preferences with regard to drinking water and should exercise vigilance that a cat’s curiosity might lead it to drink potentially unsafe water.
Survey Raises Awareness On Pet Hydration (2015)
Pet product expert PetSafe found that 45% of UK pet owners were unclear about how much water to give their pets to drink. 70% would not know if their pet was dehydrated and 51% of dog owners believed that panting is a symptom of dehydration, which is a misconception as it is a sign that a dog is too anxious or hot.
42% of dog owners said their dogs regularly drink stagnant water, which can be potentially dangerous and can cause an upset stomach. 25% of canines regularly enjoyed a cup of tea and 25% of cats were regularly given cow’s milk to drink. For cats, consuming cow’s milk can cause health complications such as severe cramps and diarrhea.
Poo bags were deemed as the number one essential by owners while more than 40% of owners reported not taking water for their pets during long walks or car journeys. Veterinary consultant for PetSafe David Chamberlain said owners need to be more savvy with regard to hydrating their pets and the type of liquids they allow their pets to consume.
4 Ways to Protect Your Pets From the Heat
1. Provide Shade and Lots of Water
Expect your pets to become dehydrated quickly, said GrrlScientist of business news magazine Forbes. It is recommended to provide them with fresh water from two or more bowls in different areas. Wash your pet’s water bowls frequently to prevent contamination.
Avoid leaving your pets outdoors without access to shade. Your dogs may enjoy soaking itself in a shallow children’s swimming pool, but be sure to supervise as they can become trapped in an in-ground pool or fountain and drown.
2. Limit Exercises
Physical activity is essential, but that does not mean you should let your pet exercise in hot weather. Be mindful of the temperature and limit exercise to early morning or evening hours on extremely hot days. If your pet has white-colored ears, they are more vulnerable to skin cancer while short-nosed pets may have trouble breathing.
When walking your dog, it is strongly recommended to do it on the grass and avoid walking it on asphalt. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your dog’s paws. Don’t forget to carry water to quench its thirst and prevent dehydration. Avoid relying on fans to cool off your pets as they respond to heat differently than humans.
3. Be Aware of the Signs of Heatstroke
Some symptoms of heat stroke include heavy panting, glazed eyes, excessive thirst, lack of coordination, dizziness, lethargy, profuse salivation, fever, and a deep red or purple tongue. Your pet is at risk of heatstroke if they are very old or young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged physical activity, or afflicted with heart or respiratory disease.
To treat heatstroke, move your pet into a location with ample shade or in an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towers on its head, neck, and chest. Run cool water over your pet and let it drink small amounts of fluid or lick ice cubes. Afterwards, consult a veterinarian.
4. Never Leave Your Pet In the Car
Temperature can quickly skyrocket to dangerous levels on a warm day even if you have the car running or the air conditioner on. Your pet may die or suffer from irreversible organ damage. It is also likely than another individual may spot your dog in your car in your absence and call local authorities. In many places, they are authorized to break car windows in case of emergencies.
Water and shade are a pet’s best friends. Owners should be prepared to place water bowls in different locations and ensure they do not walk their pet under extreme weather. Owners should consult a veterinarian quickly if their pet suffers from heatstroke for early intervention.