The monsoon is a cozy amalgamation of pouring rains along with gloomy skies and the chilly weather. While it may induce us with the need to take things slow and be a little lazy, our pets do not necessarily share our same tranquil mood. With the dampness from the constant showers, loud noises from the thunders paired with the cracks of lightings, they are not having a good time. It is up to us, as their primary guardians, to ensure they continue to feel safe in their homes.
During the monsoon, if your region experiences a lot of thunderstorms, you will need to be more observant of your pets’ behaviour. Sakshi Bawa, founder, Mutt Of Course explains, “Animals can hear and smell more acutely than humans, and the changes in air pressure and build-up of static electricity is immensely uncomfortable for them. Do not forget that your pets ear are more sensitive and might even hurt due to the changes in air pressure. Invest in a good ear muff to keep the sounds to a minimum.” The best way to deal with a scared pet is to provide them comfort. Keep an eye on their behavior, if you pet is too anxious, consult a vet.
Aaron D’silva is a behaviourist and a pet parent to a cat and dog and also helps rescue street cats. He says, “Any sort of noise from thunder and lightning is enough to increase the fear and scare them. It is important to make sure that cats have access to a safe, soundproof place, like a cupboard, that the noise is muffled.”
Humidity during the rainy season is at an all time high and it can get stuck to their fur. This dampness is a breeding ground of fungal and bacterial infections. Experts advise pet parents to keep checking on your pet’s fur, and pat them dry if you feel that their fur is damp. If your pets are constantly licking their paws, or scratching, check the area for inflammation or redness and have a vet check them.
Vidhi Malla, 38-year-old, communications consultant has three dogs – Theo, Toto and Leechie and says that during the monsoon she keeps a constant watch on their skin and paws. “After every walk, we thoroughly clean their paw with a diluted antiseptic liquid. We use common household antiseptics mixed with water, and rub their paws. This is followed by a paw drying session before we can enter the house. This ensures that their paws do not have mud or moisture from the walk and prevent any infection.”
“When using the litter box, make sure that it is not kept in the balcony or window because if the litter gets stuck into their paws, it can become hard and cause an infection,” suggests D’silva, adding, “Cat should not be sleeping or resting in any wet spots because that can cause fungus growth on them. Cats are constantly licking themselves and if anything is caught under their skin, they will lick it which can cause rash or infections.
While running through puddles and in the rain may seem fun on some days, similar to humans, your dogs and cats need protection from the rain when going out everyday. For this season, invest in a good quality raincoat to protect your pets when they go for walks. You can also get them little booties for their feet which keep their paws relatively dry and have the added advantage of making them look super cute.
D’silva says, “It is no secret that cats do not like to get wet and ideally, a cat should not get wet in the monsoon as it stresses them out. Also cats with weakened immune system end up getting sick quickly, this time around. They indicate their stress by hiding out in places, crying out loudly or just not eating.”
Pet grooming is an important part of your pets’ life as it helps them create a bond with you and also gives you a chance to keep an eye on their physical wellbeing. Dogs tend to shed more during monsoons because of the seasonal change, but if you notice excessive hair loss, consult a vet. Paw parents should comb your dogs every day if possible or at least once in two days to get rid of any loose hair and add use a good tick comb and a de-shedder comb as well. Check areas like the back of ears, part under the collar, armpits, tail joint, and paws for any ticks and fleas because that is where the ticks usually hide
For baths, Bawa suggests using a good anti-tick and flea shampoo to bathe your dog and use a pet friendly scrubber to massage the shampoo in their hair if needed. Bathing your pet once in two months is good as it will get rid of any debris or unwanted settlements. Make sure you dry your pet thoroughly after the bath and if needed you can use a blow dryer on a low setting to get the job done.
Monsoons can result in less outdoor activity and it is important to change your pet’s diet depending on the exercise they are getting. Home cooked food and wet food is good for them as it contains all of their much needed nutrition. Don’t keep the food in the open, at room temperature as it can get spoiled, refrigerate the food if your pet refuses to eat. Keep the dry kibble in airtight containers to ensure that there is no fungal growth. Break a big meal, into multiple small meals to aid digestion better. “Four to five small meals are better than two big meals considering the limited activity time,” says Bawa.
Malla says, “We have been adding something called the golden paste to their food in small amounts. The paste is a mix of turmeric, black pepper, and coconut oil, which helps boost immunity. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, helps in digestion; while coconut oil is a great for healthy for skin and hair. Black pepper helps absorb the turmeric.”
For cats, D’silva cautions pets parents and foster parents never to give cats milk as they are lactose intolerant and it gives them diarehea. He adds, “For adult cats, you must feed them two meals a day while kittens are fed four meals a day. Ensure they are drinking sufficient water because they can they can tend to dehydrate quicker than any other animal. “
There are numerous dogs and cats in your society who do not have anyone to look after them. Always be kind to them. Create a dry spot for them during rains or allow them to enter your buildings during heavy showers to rest and keep themselves dry.
For dogs, provide kibble and water for them. Cats on the other hand do not eat food that gets wet in the rains, discard it and give them new, dry food. You can feed them cooked chicken or fish. If you aren’t comfortable with non-vegetarian food, dry food works as well.