A good spell of rain, after the intense summer heat, is a welcome relief–not just for us but for our furry friends too. However, this is also the time when we need to take extra care of our pets’ hygiene. “Pets are most prone to waterborne diseases, pododermatitis (inflammation of the paw skin), and ear infections in the monsoon,” says Dr. Narendra Gandhi, a Delhi-based veterinary surgeon. Most of these conditions are caused or aggravated by contaminated water and high humidity. Damp-smelling coats and ticks are also common at this time. Here are some tips to keep your pets well-groomed and healthy during the rainy season.
Keep their paws dry
During monsoons, your canine companions are exposed to moisture, which makes them susceptible to pododermatitis. “Moisture in parks and wet streets weaken the follicles, which leads to skin inflammation in the paws,” explains Gandhi. “Do not leave your dog’s paws wet for long. Use blotting paper to wipe them clean time and again. Rinse with clean water and if possible, blow-dry the paws after every walk,” he adds. If you have a long-coat pet, keep the fur between the paw pads trimmed. This will keep the stubborn mud, that can cling, off their paws. Also, ensure their nails are not clipped too close to the skin to prevent bleeding and infection.
Keep them away from dirty, stagnant water
Like you, your pets can fall prey to waterborne diseases from contaminated and stagnant water. Common symptoms of a gut problem include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and appetite loss. “Make sure they are drinking clean water,” advises Gandhi. Feed them bland food (rice and curd) in case of gut infection and the symptoms should subside within a few days. If the infection seems aggressive, visit your vet for further treatment.
Clean their ears once a day
Wet weather makes them vulnerable to ear infections too. According to Gandhi, “During the monsoons, you need to clean their ears with a cotton bud every day. At other times during the year, it is okay to clean them once a month.” Pet grooming centres also do a thorough ear-cleaning job.
Keep them away from frogs and lizards
Keep a close eye on your dog during the rains as frogs and lizards, which can be extremely toxic, crawl about randomly. “If you catch your pet with one in his mouth, induce vomiting by using vinegar or by placing salt on the back of their tongue to flush out the toxins,” recommends Gandhi.
Keep their coat dry
To avoid damp coats, and the accompanying odour, you will need to wipe them dry every time they get wet. “Brush your pet religiously at least twice a day,” suggests Gandhi. To control pet odour you can also use dog powders and deodorants that are readily available at pet shops.
Save them from ticks
Monsoon is the breeding season for ticks. As a result, the chances of your pet becoming infested with ticks or fleas are high. To prevent this, use tick collars and consult your vet about oral medication. “However, avoid medicating your pet yourself. Always consult an expert,” says Gandhi. If your pet is already infected with ticks, give them a bath with an anti-tick shampoo and rubbing an anti-tick ointment. This may not be enough, though. You may need to physically remove ticks from your pet’s coat. While at it, make sure you kill the insects by dunking them in a jar of kerosene or water (plain or mixed with detergent).