Tips for summer: How to keep your neighbourhood animals cool and refreshed

Sriparna Ghosh
Karnataka bandh

IBTimes/Arkadev Ghoshal

The mercury is rising steadily and whil people are diving into swimming pools and quenching their thirst with chilled beverages your neighbourhood animals like dogs, cats, birds, cows, and even snakes, are struggling in the summer heat.

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Such is their plight, that even so-called dangerous animals like the King Cobra are thirsty enough to placidly drink water out of a bottle. 

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International Business Times, India reached out to various animal activists and veterinarians to chalk out a few steps on how you can help stray animals, this summer.

Street dogs and cats

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Even though Indie dog and cats are well suited to the warm climate, they also need ample water. Dr Pampapathi, a veterinarian and small animal's specialist, said, "Leave a bowl of water outside your house or you can leave it in an area frequented by stray dogs."

"In case there are no shady areas nearby, you can build a small shed and leave the water there. Do not feed them leftover food at any cost. Do not leave milk out for cats as it tends to spoil in the heat," added Pampapathi.

Birds and squirrels

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While hanging 'shallow' bowls of water on trees and on terraces is a great help for birds and squirrels, it's essential to clean the vessel every day.

"It is a must to clean the bowls every day and refill them, because when so many birds drink from the same bowl, take a dip in it and even defecate in it, it becomes a hotspot of pathogens. Birds will fall ill and might even lead to an epidemic," said a wildlife rehabilitator from Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Trust (ARRT).

Another important point the rehabilitator stressed upon was the need to keep deep jars and buckets of water covered. "Squirrels often jump into these vessels to drink water and then drown as they are unable to jump out," added the rehabilitator.

Snakes

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Many people are petrified of snakes, but it must be made clear that snakes pose no danger to us unless they feel we pose a danger to them. Leave them alone, and they'll do the same with you.

In summer, snakes venture out of their resting places only to cool themselves. While leaving bowls of water in the garden will help reptiles, Shreeram VN, a volunteer in ARRT said, "Do not remove leaves that have fallen on the ground, rather spray the leaf litter with water so that reptiles can take shelter in the coolness of these piles, when their body temperature starts fluctuating."

Cattle

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Unlike other small animals, cattle need a large amount of food and water. Therefore, keeping a concrete tub of water outside for cattle can be of great help. But what happens if the cattle belong to the local dairy?

"The best way to help them is to get together with the local dairy and help them provide sufficient fresh grass and water for the cattle," said Shilpa Mahbubani, PR and communications head of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA).

It's these little things that could mean the difference between life and death for our animal friends. So remember, while you're sitting under a fan or in the comfort of an a/c room, the animals out there need some TLC too!

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