Pay attention to pets' diet in summers

From cucumbers to leafy vegetables, see what to feed your pets this season

Vikram says his dogs enjoy having curd during summer.

The scorching summer heat impacts your pets in more ways than one. Here are some easy-to-make treats that can help your four-legged friend beat the heat.

For dogs 

- Fruits and Vegetables

“The best and safest option for them are fruits and vegetables, especially watery fruits like melons and cucumbers. Dogs will eat these without any hassle,” says Dr Vibha Raghuram, veterinarian gynaecologist.

“Seedless watermelons and honeydew are high in moisture and cool the body from the inside, making them ideal for pets,” says Dr Judy Morgan, a veterinarian and author who specialises in food therapy.

- Buttermilk and yogurt

Dr Vibha Raghuram points out that the presence of probiotics in yogurt and lactic acid bacteria in buttermilk makes them ideal food for dogs. These help prevent gastrointestinal diseases and fungal infections.

Powdered buttermilk can found at select stores and veterinary clinics which can be sprinkled on wet food. 

Dogs owners Vikram Johann and Girija Ram vouch for the powers of yogurt. Says Girija Ram, “We give our Cocker Spaniel curd or yogurt on a regular basis because it is probiotic. We don’t give him bones so this is a good source of calcium; he loves it.”

Vikram Johann adds, “My two German Shepherd mixes enjoy curd during summer; it also aids their digestion.”

Foods to avoid for dogs

Avoid feeding fatty meats and warm foods. Grapes and raisins are incredibly toxic to dogs. While vets don’t know what exactly causes the bad reaction, intake of these can cause vomiting and even kidney failure in dogs.

For cats
Cats are notoriously poor water drinkers. So in order to compensate for this, owners must pay attention to their diet. According to experts, food given to cats should contain 60 per cent wet food and 40 per cent dry food. Wet food is necessary in a cat’s daily diet as it reduces the risk of urinary infections and ensures hydration.

“Cats are fussy eaters. Try fruits with them or lighter food like soupy items,” says Dr Vibha. 

- Cucumbers ideal for cats’ metabolism

Cucumbers are high on water content and are also nutritious, making them an excellent food for warm summers. They are also high in vitamin K which is required by felines to make blood clotting factors in the liver.It is recommended to give cucumbers to cats regularly; however, they should be given in small quantities since the high water content can cause diarrhoea.

Foods to Avoid

Chocolates are never a good idea for any animal, especially cats. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine that are capable of causing heart arrhythmias, muscle tremors and even seizures in cats.

For guinea pigs

Dr Agitesh Kumar, doctor at Cessna Lifeline - veterinary hospital, says “Anything which has more water — like spinach, coriander leaves, lettuce, carrots, apples, cucumbers — is suitable for guinea pigs.”

- Leafy vegetables

Vegetables like lettuce, spinach, parsley and coriander are suitable for guinea pigs — these green leafy veggies are low on starches and sugars but are packed with essential micronutrients and antioxidants. Dip them into ice water to help cool down the piggies faster.

“My guinea pig, Muffin, eats lots of green veggies, especially leafy ones like lettuce, and drinks water with citrus drops. Vitamin C is very important for them, so we give Muffin food rich in Vitamin C, ” says Rahul Pande.

- Grass hay

Grass Hay is one of the staples of a guinea pig’s diet. Since guinea pigs are herbivores, hay gives them the required amount of fibre and also keeps their teeth properly ground.

Foods to avoid

“Guinea pigs should generally be given a fibre-based diet and not ready-to-eat foods with carbohydrates like chapathi, bread or rusk. Also, avoid bananas,” warns Dr Agitesh.

Keep in mind

- Hydration is key

Regardless of whether you have a dog, cat or guinea pig, give your pets access to ample amount of water. Keep multiple sources of water in the house within easy reach of your pets and keep an eye out for symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke in them. Spraying water on them will also keep them cool. Don’t keep their cages under direct sunlight.

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