While pets might have a better appetite for liquid foods to keep them hydrated, owners should be wary about the fruit juice they give them, for some might have an adverse affect.
Merwyn’s playtime is reduced, he pants more after a run and walks away from food. Just like this labrador, most pets find their energy sucked out faster due to the summer heat. In Merwyn’s case, his owner Sandhya Ravikrishnan says, “He gets tired faster during summer. He runs for a bit and then comes and laps up a lot of water. He walks away from solid food, so we give him mostly liquid food — milk, buttermilk and fruit juice. Also, at times, he suffers from constipation in summer,” she says. “We even took him to a doctor once to check if anything was wrong, and why he wasn’t active as usual,” she adds.
According to Veterinarian Archibald David, who used to be the director of Clinics at Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, and has over five decades of experience in the field, most owners, like Sandhya, come to him with complaints that their pooches are not eating enough during the season or have nose bleeds.
“I tell them that it is nothing to worry. They are also like humans. Even our intake reduces during summer,” he says.
For those who keep fretting about it, he prescribes liver tonic, which again can be done without.
He prescribes no special food for the season, but just an increase in the number of water bowls in the house. “Otherwise, they can follow the regular diet, and to keep their energy levels high, one can probably also buy electrolytes available in the market. But besides that, pets can be given whatever their owners are having, even coconut water!” he says.
However, it is important to note that pets are carnivores and have a lower pH stomach acid levels (about 1.5 to 2), and can digest and process much better than humans. But this means that when they consume fruits, which have a high acid content, it might affect their stomach, explains David.
So if you ever lovingly thought of making your dog a rich grape juice or chocolate milk shake, hold that thought. Dr Sokkalingam says, “It is not a good idea to give grapes and raisins to dogs. They can affect their kidneys. This is besides onions, garlic, mushroom and chocolates.” Chocolate contains theobromine which can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhoea, and be excessively thirsty, among other symptoms.
Signs of Dehydration:
The most common symptom of dehydration is the loss of elasticity in the skin. When pulled lightly, the skin will not readily come back to its original place. Another alarming symptom is xerostomia, in which the gums lose their moisture and become dry and sticky, and the saliva becomes thick. In advanced dehydration, the eyes sink in and the dog may collapse with shock.