The monsoon is finally here, to give the parched city some respite from the inferno that is the Delhi summer. The perfect season for chai and pakoras, but not quite as pleasant when it comes to the water logging and the traffic jams. But that, in my opinion, is a small price to pay to finally be able to say goodbye to the summer sun, as long as you’re well prepared in advance. Your dog too, must be glad to not have to put up with the heat, but unfortunately, for them, monsoon is the season of nasty bugs, damp fur and soggy rubbish everywhere. Pets are extremely susceptible to diseases and conditions that the rains bring with them. The city’s deplorable sanitation conditions and water drainage systems make it the perfect host for a plethora of nasty disease-causing germs. Naturally, therefore, the arrival of the Monsoon calls for some extra attention to be paid to your dog’s well being during this period.
Walks. Which self-respecting dog doesn’t like walks? The highlight of their day is when someone puts on their shoes, picks up the leash and calls out to them. Unfortunately for them, the rain makes it impossible to take them out for walks a lot of times these months. It may just be a brief step outside for you, but for dogs, their daily walks are very important. Foregoing these walks may be a cause of anxiety and depression. The problem requires you to be a bit flexible about your schedule. It may be raining in the morning or evenings, or whenever it is that you take him out for walks, so make an effort to take him out whenever the sky clears during the daytime. If you’re out working out studying, ask some other family member, or a trusted neighbour to do so for you.
Lack of daily walks may also cause unhealthy weight gain. If your house it too cluttered, move the furniture around to make space so you and your dog can play with a ball or their favourite toy, the point being to make them exercise and stretch their muscles for a while. It might not be as exciting for them as going out, but they all love good game of catch anyway.
When you actually manage to take them out for walks, you’ll need to be extra cautious. The rain brings out the creepy crawlies in hordes. Earthworms, fat, juicy slugs, snails, you name it. Now, your dog, being a dog, will want to sniff and explore and bark at everything that he sees, being the curious creature that he is, but don’t let it progress to licking or chewing or playing with it please. None of creatures are likely to be poisonous, since the only poisonous varieties live in the sea. However, living in the earth, as they do, they can pick up some pretty nasty things as they go about their slimy ways, especially pesticides present in the soil. Some of them also have questionable culinary tastes, and feed off the droppings of animals such as rats, which may contain parasites such as lungworm, and those are pretty dangerous for you dog. These chemicals and parasites may be present in their slime trails too.
There’s dirty water collecting everywhere, the gutters, puddles, pot holes, so make sure they don’t go about drinking it. Even if it looks clean, there’s no way of knowing what it contains. Dirt water may cause jaundice or other such diseases. Make sure the dog’s bowl is always full of fresh, boiled water, to dissuade him from attempting to sate his thirst outside.
Also keep away from long grass, which may be home to fleas, which brings us to the next major issue that plagues dogs in monsoons. Ticks and fleas are very common in this season. they absolutely love the damp conditions. make sure your dog’s fur is routinely washed and kept dry. Consult the vet and bring home medicated powders, shampoos and whatever else they advise you may be needed. Damp fur brings a host of other problems as well, rashes being the most common of them. Medicated talc and ointments are usually available to deal with these. The damp tends to permeate cloth based furniture also sometimes, so make sure their sleeping areas are dry and warm. The best way to deal with these problems is to trim their hair, though. Don’t worry, it’ll grow back after the rains are over, and you can manage to avoid a plethora problems while doing so. Try out dry shampoo also. It does not need water, and you can rub some into the fur and then comb it through. it cleans just as well as regular shampoos without the hassle of using water. It leaves residue, though, so make sure that you dog isn’t irritated by it.
Booster shots before the rains are imperative, as is regular deworming. Diseases such as canine distemper and leptospirosis are rampant, and the conditions for their spread are ideal. Leptospirosis is a dangerous, and unfortunately, common bacterial disease, whose symptoms include high fever, chills, red eyes, abdominal pain, a dull coat, vomiting and diarrhoea. It is carried by rodents such as wild rats, who live in gutters and sewage lines, ideal breeding grounds for this, and other bacteria like it, and can enter your dog through cuts and abrasions. It can also be passed on to humans, which makes it all the more dangerous.
There are several other diseases that your dog can get exposed to. Foot eczema is common, as is otitis, or infection of the ear canal. If you’re caring for stray dogs, look out for maggot infections in wounds. Clean and bandage all cuts and injuries regularly, and make sure that their sleeping places are in warm, dry spots and that they have constant access to clean drinking water.