Summer is officially here, and how! It’s that time of year again where the sweltering, sultry heat makes you wish you were sitting in an igloo instead of wherever you are in India. Safe to assume that if it’s hot for you, it’s hot for your pets as well. Their body temperatures tend to be much higher than humans’ and unlike us, they don’t sweat to cool off. Rather, they pant and look for cool surfaces to cool down.
Similar to us, our pet’s diet naturally changes in accordance with the weather. Like us, our furry friends will appreciate light, fresh, and delicious summer foods – something they can digest easily and won’t make them feel lethargic and bloated.
Keep an eye on their food and water intake
Keep a close eye on their food and water intake but don’t feel too alarmed if you find them eating less than usual, so long as they are otherwise fit and healthy. It’s normal for them to experience a loss of appetite if it’s too hot. Just make sure they’re well hydrated and get enough nutrition. Many pet owners tend to feed curd and buttermilk to their pets during summer and while it may help to cool them down, it’s important to note that these foods are very water-intense but do not have sufficient vitamins and minerals that your pet will need.
Plenty of fresh water and increased frequency of feeds will ensure that your pet is having a nutritionally well-balanced, energy-dense diet. Watermelon (de-seeded, of course), cucumber, and other fruits with rich water content are all good options.
You can opt to feed them a mostly raw diet or processed wet or dry food, if that’s easier. Just know that while dry food is really convenient, it’s not necessarily the best for your pet’s health. Dry food is highly-processed, making it less nutritious than raw foods, and it’s also warming. Do make sure you include a mix of proteins and carbohydrates, and avoid anything too fatty.
The best summer foods for pets are:
- Some example of cooling foods are:
- Meat & fish: Duck, duck eggs, pork, white fish
- Eggs & dairy: Eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt
- Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, turnip, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, brussel sprouts, green beans
- Fruit: Strawberry, melon, cranberry, banana, mango, apple, pear
- Herbs & greens: Dandelion, kelp, seaweed, spirulina, wheat grass, peppermint, chlorella, alfalfa sprouts, majoram
- Mushrooms: Button mushrooms
- Grains: Buckwheat, barley, wild rice, millet
- Other: Tofu, sesame and flaxseed oil
The cooling benefits of these foods will be higher if they are fed raw or lightly cooked, as the cooking process can destroy certain properties of foods. However, not all foods can be served raw to dogs and some raw foods might cause an upset stomach – brussel sprouts should be cooked for example. Do further research or ask your vet before adding a new food to your pet’s diet. And always start out slow by giving your pet only a small amount of the new food.
Water for the win
Pets tend to easily overheat and get dehydrated in summer. Provide them with unrestricted access to fresh, cool water. To encourage them to drink water more regularly, place water bowls around the house and garden within easy reach. Refill water bowls frequently. Adding ice cubes or filling chilled water in the bowls will make you a winner in your pet’s eyes.