Ways to Beat the Heat in Singapore: Recipes, Cooling Products & Tips
Brace yourself, summer is coming. Here are some #protips on keeping your pets cool during the hotter summers in Singapore.
Contributing Writer: Chan Choy Yu
The hottest months of the year are upon us once more! As we brace ourselves for the sweltering heat, you might have wondered if there’s anything else you can do besides turning up the A/C to help your furry friend cool down and escape the unforgiving weather.
Luckily for you, the answer is yes, especially if you’re still studying or working from home. To prevent your pet from overheating and suffering from heatstroke, here are some simple recipes to follow for ice-cool treats, innovative products that help keep pets feeling cool and refreshed, and tips on how you can beat the heat:
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If you currently have more time on your hands, consider whipping up healthy, cold treats for your pets! Just like how we would appreciate an ice-cold popsicle on a warm day, so would our furry friends.
It’s also a great way to increase your pet’s water intake, because there’s a higher risk of them getting dehydrated on warmer days. This is especially so if you have a pet that doesn’t have a habit of drinking plain ol’ water, which most cat owners should be able to relate to.
Simply freeze some of their favourite treats in water, or create an ice lolly made up of frozen tuna brine or no-salt chicken broth to keep them cool and satisfied.
Otherwise, Puppy Cake’s Hoggin’ Dogs Ice Cream Mix is a perfect treat for our hot weather. Simply mix the pack with water and freeze it! There are 4 decadent flavours to spoil your pet with, which are all lactose-free with no sugar added.
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While we rely on fans and air conditioning to keep us cool, there are many useful products out there that help protect our furry friends from the heat. From cooling vests and mattresses to help them regulate their temperature better to soothing skincare products, here are some items that you can consider adding to your home:
Cooling / Elevated Beds
Unlike the usual pet beds that retain heat, consider purchasing cooling beds for your pets to chill out on when it gets warm. There is a wide variety available on the market that range from ones that use memory foam with an open-cell technology to assist heat distribution to some that use cooling gel or removable ice packs.
Alternatively, you can DIY a makeshift cooling “pad” if you’re in need of one immediately. For this, all you need to do is to place a pack of frozen vegetables or bottled water wrapped up in a blanket or towel in your pet’s favourite nap corner! If your pet is feeling warm, it will naturally appreciate this cool bolster.
Not all pets will take to wearing clothes, but if your pet doesn’t mind wearing some, you may consider shopping for a cooling vest. These vests often help pets to cool down via evaporative cooling and are designed with special materials that help to accelerate the rate of evaporation, but it is important to note that they also tend to work better in dry air — since evaporation occurs more quickly then.
This means that while the vest might work relatively well in May and June, it might not be as effective during the monsoon season.
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There are two ways hot weather can cause pet skin problems. Firstly, it increases water loss from the body, which can lead to drier skin. Secondly, an increase in temperature causes skin pores to open up, making it easier for allergens and irritants to be absorbed.
Either way, both result in irritated and itchy skin, which may then cause your pet to scratch fervently, damaging and weakening the skin’s natural barrier further. In other words, it’s a vicious cycle, and if not managed properly early, can result in skin conditions like heat rash and hot spots.
Besides providing cold treats and cooling products, there are other ways you can keep your pet feeling cool even during the warmest months as well:
Make use of ice cubes
Apart from being a cooling treat for pets to lick or a good way to make their drinking water refreshingly cold, ice cubes can also be rubbed on the paws of your pet, which absorbs and loses heat too. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try freezing Zeal’s Lactose Free Pet Milk. Simply pour the milk into an ice tray, freeze it, and voila! The purfect treat to combat the summer heat.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your pet is panting slightly more than usual. This calls for a more immediate, effective way to cool down your pet, and you can do so by stroking your pet with a damp washcloth or towel. This is especially good for felines who hate getting wet, but if you’ve got a canine companion, you may give it a good rinse in the bathroom with cool (not cold) water!
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Excess fur can trap heat, so make sure to brush your furry critter daily to get rid of all the dead hair! Do take note to never shave double-coated pets though, as this might do more harm than good instead. The coats are there to keep your pet warm during cool weather and vice versa, and the topcoat is often made up of tougher guard hairs that protect your pet from the sun’s harmful rays and insulates them from the heat.
Even if your pet loves a rousing game of tag or tug-of-war, it’s best to wait until the end of the day when it’s cooler for these strenuous, heart-pumping games. Instead, provide other forms of mental stimulation with obedience training or nose work toys!
Walks should also be postponed to early mornings and evenings, when temperatures are relatively cooler. Paw pads can get burnt as well, and as a general rule of thumb, if the ground is too hot for you to stand barefoot on, then it is too hot for your pet’s paws as well.
When it’s time for medical attention
As temperatures increase over this period of time, pets are more susceptible to heatstroke, especially brachycephalic (snub-nosed or flat-faced) cat and dog breeds because of the overall structure of their respiratory system.
Those with thicker, darker-coloured coats may also be at increased risk of suffering from heatstroke compared to those with thinner, lighter-coloured coats, because the former provides more insulation and heat-absorption.
If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heatstroke, visit the vet immediately as heatstroke can cause problems such as the swelling of the brain, kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, and more in severe cases. In the meanwhile, make sure your pet is well-shaded in an air-conditioned area and gently spray cool water over your pet or dab them with a wet towel, as well as offer small amounts of water frequently.
Some symptoms of heatstroke include:
Excessive panting and difficulty breathing
Very red or pale gums
Bright red tongue
Increased heart rate
Lethargy, weakness, staggering when walking, or collapsing.