Your furry friends might need extra love during monsoon. Pritha Banerjee speaks to experts and provides guidelines for caring for them
While monsoon can be a big relief to us, but for our pets, it can be a nightmare. From birds to dogs, showers affect them all. So, allowing your pets to run freely around in this weather might not be a good idea. There are so many diseases under the umbrella that might lead up to health complications for them. The high moisture content in the air can lead to health troubles like infections, cough, pneumonia, cold and fever (Flu), and loose motions for your pet. Therefore, there is a need to take special care of your furry friends with the onset of the monsoon.
“Due to the humidity, it is likely that your pets might suffer from respiratory diseases which are very common during this season. In order to keep them comfortable, the surrounding has to be warm and dry. In case of a change in body temperature and cough, they should be taken to a nearby veterinary hospital,” says Dr. Seema Bhattacharya.
It is important to keep them dry; the wet fur can lead to the breeding of fleas and worms which can lead to fungal infections. “Monsoon season is a breeding grounds for mosquitoes which can lead to life threatening pet diseases like canine malaria, dog heartworm, West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE),” adds Dr. Bhattacharya.
The season is usually the breeding ground for water-borne diseases and apart from giving clean water to drink you need to ensure that your pet is given all the required vaccinations. These will provide immunity and help your pet to fight against many diseases.
Keep them warm, dry and clean
Even though we consider our pet as one of our own, we have to keep in mind that they are different from us. Hence, different rules apply to them. They need to be bathed once a week and according to the breed of your dog or cat, you need to use anti-tick and flea shampoo and conditioner during the bath. “I use two-three drops of neem oil while bathing my dog. It’s organic and it keeps him away from infections,” says Rutvija for her six-year-old Doberman, Caesar. The grooming process should also include ear cleaning, brushing, nail clipping and dental care to keep dirt and fleas away from their fur.
Long haired dog breeds need daily attention. Beneath matted hair, moisture can get trapped creating an excellent environment for infection to set in. Daily brushing is a necessity in order to keep your dog mat- and tangle-free. “We give a savlon bath to our dog during this season which is also advisable by the vet. At least two types of shampoos are used to take care of dandruff as well,” admits Akshay for his two-year-old German shepherd, Sam.
Not only dogs and cats, even birds face issues of body odor, sweat, and gastroenteritis during this season. They need to be taken to the vets for regular check-ups in this weather. For fishes, on the other hand, the aquariums need to be drained out and cleaned at least twice a month.
It is an absolute must that you do not let your pet get wet in the rain or play in the puddle. If they need to go out for a walk, it is necessary for them to wear a raincoat as it will ward off infections caused by wet paws. “Dogs have the habit of licking everything so it is important to take them to a clean place for a walk and play during this season. Their claws need to be cleaned after they come back or you can use nail caps to save yourself from the extra work,” adds Rutvija.
Diet, exercise and lots of love
It is important that you don’t store their food and water in the open air as it might get contaminated and can lead to digestive disorder and gastroenteritis. “Clean drinking water and cooked food is an ideal diet for them in this season,” claims Rutvija.
Boiled or filtered water is a must and it should be taken care of that they do not eat/drink unhealthy, unauthorized food and water. They must be properly hydrated. “Curd rice or vanilla ice-cream is good for their tummy if they are suffering from stomach upset and vomiting frequently,” states Akshay.
They need to go for a daily walk, but during the rainy season it is difficult to take them out all the time. Mostly during this season pets feel lazy and hesitate to move their muscle. Make sure that you don’t allow your pet to laze around the day. “Regular exercise and walks help your pet to be cheerful and energetic and facilitate proper blood circulation in the body. If you can’t take him out, ensure that they have enough room to move around inside the house and having a big house helps in that case. He makes up for the lesser walks by climbing up and down the stairs,” notes Rutvija.
For small flats where your dog might not get enough room to run around, there are other ways for them to exercise. “I play a good old-fashioned game of fetch and keep away with Sam. These games keep your dog engaged, active, and help to release pent-up energy. Sometimes she likes to play tug of war as well with a rope,” recalls Akshay.
Thunderstorms also trigger an amount of fear for an animal so it is necessary to keep them calm and make them feel safe. If not they might end up having nightmares and howl throughout the night. “You can hug your pet, keep them cozy and try sleeping with them if possible. Anti-anxiety pills can be used in rarest of the rare cases,” insits Dr. Bhattacharya. You cannot leave them alone in such situation because it can lead to excessive aggressiveness, howling, barking, and chewing up furniture etc.