Feb 22, 2024
Feb 22, 2024
Large part of India is reeling under a heat wave. This heat is excruciating for humans as well as their pooches. People who can afford have air-conditioners in their houses. Those who cannot, have desert coolers to cool their rooms. But there is a large chunk of population, which cannot afford either of them. They don’t have even ceiling fans and many of the families do not have even the luxury of electricity. Yet there is something common between all of them. That is, their love for dogs. It is evident that dogs survive in all kinds of situations.
Most of the affluent dog owners claim that their dog loves air conditioner and doesn’t budge from there in summers. Some say that though they do not need air-conditioning, yet because of their pooch they have to keep it on.
Often people ask me, is air-conditioning bad for their dog? My answer is, ‘It is as bad, as sweet is for a diabetic.’
Having reared dogs all my life I found that like us, dogs too suffer from pain in joints or arthritis. Five-six decades ago, when air-conditioners were not in vogue as they are today, we managed to live comfortably during the day, in a room cooled by a curtain made of an aromatic grass ‘Khuskhus’. Water was constantly sprinkled on this grass curtain and the evaporation of water ushered in cool, aromatic draft of air, cooling the room in the process. Even those days, my dogs lived outside in an east facing Verandah, which was comfortable, as it was surrounded by a variety of trees and bushes. While the western part of the house would reach almost boiling temperatures during in the summer afternoon, the eastern part would be comparatively quite comfortable.
All the year round, dogs need a living place that is free from direct drafts of hot or cold air. Prolonged exposure to direct Sun during summers could be fatal. While during winters, they do enjoy basking and it is good for their health. Some breeds like Pugs, Pomeranians, Pekingese, and Boxers etc. are prone to heat strokes. Toy breeds are delicate and succumb to extreme heat. Therefore, they must be kept in cool places.
However, saving dogs from heat does not mean that they should be reared in air-conditioned rooms. Certain breeds like Himalayan Sheepdog and Saint Bernard being an exception. Heat can be fatal for these breeds.
Summers bring another problem for the dog owners. The Sun, even at 6.15 becomes unbearable and walking a dog is a difficult task. Dogs have a peculiar habit of adapting to their master’s sleeping pattern. If the master gets up late, his dogs too get used to the idea and get up late. But for a better health of your dog, it is better to take him out on a walk before the Sunrise and in the evening much after the Sunset. During day time, if your house is such that it gets heated, then there is no option but to keep your dog in an air-conditioned room. Personally I still don’t agree to the idea.
In the night, there is no question of keeping a dog in a room. Ideal is a compound or a courtyard, where other animals, including dogs cannot sneak in. Dogs love to sleep under the sky and enjoy the natural cold outside. Some excessive shedders like German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, shed less if they are kept in natural environment.
Dogs reared in air-conditioned rooms only may appear healthy, but after the age of five they start showing the symptoms of arthritis. They start groaning while getting up and find it difficult to climb the stairs or even coming down. Ultimately your Vet’s bills get larger and larger each month.
Dogs reared in natural environs, protected from direct Sun and direct drafts of hot air, remain free from joint pains. After all there are thousands of dogs that live without the comfort of Air-conditioner and cooler and they manage to survive and remain healthy. Therefore, it is best to rear the dog in harmony with nature and ensure his longevity.
Arthritis isn't caused by aircons, it's either an autoimmune disease or caused by natural wear and tear of joints. There's no evidence to suggest (nor have you cited any) that proves or even indicates that aircon causes arthritis.
Your article is not only factually incorrect but misleading too. Merely because thousands or rather millions of dogs live in harsh and unbearable conditions does not mean they don't suffer from the ever increasing global temperatures. Also, you're confusing the indigenous breeds who've lived in humid climates to those most people have as pets. Most breeds that people have as pets are from colder countries who cannot acclimatise to hot and humid conditions.
Sorry, but you're no authority on animals for you are neither a veterinarian nor someone educated on the subject. Overall, it was a very inane article to read.
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