Preparing for Summer

Ilove February. It does not have much to do with the exuberant display of love and affection towards the middle of the month. It has more to do with the season.

It seems like that time of the year when Bengaluru shows off its best. It’s that season where one needs to be in jeans and tees during the day and has to carry a jacket for the evenings, though my wardrobe itself has a certain consistency of muddy paw prints irrespective of seasons and occasions. While we enjoy the typical pleasant Bengaluru weather, it’s also time to start preparing for summer.
February is that oddly deceptive month where when you leave home, it is perhaps cool and comfortable, if not a bit chilly. But the afternoons can get quite warm. If you live in an apartment as most of the city does, then there is a good chance that the apartment is beginning to warm up during the day. And if you are away from home like most of working Bengaluru is, then it’s quite possible that you are not realising that your dog may be overheating back home, while you are in your air-conditioned office, with memories of the cool morning and the chilly breeze of the evening when you see your dog again. So remember that the priority this season is to leave your dog with the right tools to cope with the warmth and the cold during the day.
When leaving home, leave the fan running in one room, so that the dog can go cool himself if he needs to during the warmer part of the day. If you are leaving home during the evening, then you need to ensure warmth for the dog. If you are leaving your dog in a single room for a stretch of time, ensure the room is roomy enough to have warm and cool spots for your dog and consider how the temperature drops and rises during the day in that one room. Be aware of what your dog’s day looks like.
A dog will also need water to cool down. If your dog is emptying the water in his bowl, then you need to consider that your dog’s water consumption is increasing during the day and you need to provide water accordingly. Some dogs will choose to cool themselves down further by splashing water around and lying in it. It is just a sign of a dog coping and should not be punished.
Try to regulate the temperature in the home by watching how the house heats up during the day and close the drapes if you need to keep the sun out to prevent overheating of any particular spot. At the same time, ensure that your dog has access to sunbathing some time during each day. Balance is the key.
Dogs like soft surfaces to sleep on. So blankets and mattresses should be left behind for them. Soft cotton blankets breathe and make for great surfaces for dogs to use during warmer hours. Mattresses, on the other hand, provide the warmth dogs need during the cooler hours of the day.
Discomfort is one of the primary reasons for behavioural issues. Providing a dog some control over his own basic needs like temperature regulation for comfort is one such thing that we don’t always think about. I have been taught to emphasise on choice in a dog’s life. This month, can you give your dog the gift of choice? That could be the grandest gesture of your love for your dog. Your dog will appreciate it for sure.

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