As the temperatures soar, we humans have some respite from the heat — indoor shelters, fans, air conditioners, cooling drinks, etc. But animals on the streets aren’t so lucky. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India offers some life-saving tips on caring for animals. “Many animals suffer during India’s long summers. You can help them weather the high temperatures by following our tips and volunteering with your local animal-protection group,” says Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA’s director of veterinary affairs.
* Keep dog companions inside: Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their foot pads and they cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress and physical injuries — including brain damage — and can result in death.
* Avoid parked cars: Never leave a dog inside a parked car in warm weather even for short periods of time and even if the windows are slightly open. Even on a relatively mild 28° day, the temperature inside a car can climb rapidly, reaching a dangerous 32° in the shade and a deadly 71° in the sun. Dogs trapped inside a car can succumb to heatstroke within minutes — even if the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
* Offer water outdoors: Place mud pots that are filled with cool, clean water outside your home or at places where there are homeless or working animals. Inexpensive mud pots won’t tip over and will help keep the water cool.
* Provide birds with water: Place bowls on window sills, on balconies, on terraces and in gardens. Change the water regularly.
* Give working animals a break: Ask owners of bullocks and donkeys to give the animals a rest — especially during the heat of the afternoon — and help the animals cool off by gently spraying water on them.
* Give a treat: Feed working animals fruit for a sweet treat.
* Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all animals you see outdoors. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you find an animal in distress, contact a veterinarian or an animal-welfare organisation right away and give the animal water for immediate relief.