Water crisis tips for you and your pet

Cape Town is not the only city in the world currently struggling with a water crisis, and whilst there’s not much we can do about the rain, there is a lot we can do to protect furry, scaly, feathery and winged creatures from the destructive effects of one of South Africa’s driest spells in decades.

At home

  • Cutting back on your four-legged friends’ bath sessions is currently a non-negotiable, but you can still extend your pooch’s clean, lustrous locks by:
    • using doggie dry shampoo between washes
    • up the brushing to remove the accumulation of oil on their coat and skin
    • use biodegradable pet-wipes for:
      • house-training pups
      • cleaning of ears
      • cleaning facial folds, thereby warding off potential infections in bearded and brachycephalic breeds
  • Ensure your furry friend is constantly hydrated by:
    • Keeping their drinking bowls in shady areas to reduce evaporation
    • Filling water bowls to the halfway mark so you don’t have to throw excess water way when it becomes dirty or you need to clean the bowl. You will need to be vigilant and refill more often.
    • storing indoor water bowls in draft-free zones so there is less chance of having to change the water because of dirt and dust particles blowing into them
    • ensuring your pets steer clear of rain or grey water catchment containers because stagnant water is a prime breeding zone for parasites
    • catching the first cold water when showering and using that to fill water bowls (ensure that the water is soap free) or use it to give then a bath or wash their accessories.
  • Increase your pets intake of water with these novel tips:
    • offer them a selection of bowls as some pets prefer drinking from plastic or glass whilst others may like ceramic or stainless-steel bowls
    • ensure water is always accessible to your pet. Place the bowl in a comfortable position for your pet to drink from, such as elevating it above the ground level, so they don’t strain their necks or backs
    • increase your pet’s water intake by adding water to their dry or wet food
    • spice up your pet’s thirst-quenching experience by adding bone broth or cucumber to their drinking water
    • ensure their water bowls are cleaned daily (you can use clean shower water)
    • ensure their water bowls are refilled daily with fresh, clean and cool water
    • add ice cubes to your pet’s water. Get creative by adding pet-friendly fruit or bone broth to the water in the ice cube tray before freezing
    • use a pet fountain as most pets find it more desirable to drink moving water and you won’t need to change water as often

Safety First

As an increasing number of households install boreholes and rain catchment facilities to gain access to their own water sources, it must be cautioned that this water needs to be tested in a registered laboratory to ensure it’s safe to drink. Municipalities and disaster response teams make daily use of the South African National Standards or SANS 241 test to scrutinise the quality of our drinking water. Untreated water contains various bacteria and viruses that can bring on serious conditions and diseases thereby endangering the lives of your family and pets. As a standard rule for consumption of borehole and catchment water – TEST BEFORE YOU INGEST!

Treating your catchment water is crucial to eradicating any possible bacteria. The composition of stored water is likely to change over time, so rather be safe than sorry and treat your water accordingly.

The easiest and safest way to ensure the sanitation of your water is to boil it for at least three minutes. You can then make this water available to your family and pets for cooking or drinking.

Outings

It’s strongly advised to plan your pet’s daily walks at cooler times of the day to avoid the unrelenting sun and sweltering heat. This goes without saying for all breeds, flat faced or snouted.

Never head out on any outing with your pet without reserves of cold drinking water.

Under no circumstances should your pets be left in the car, regardless of how cool you deem the temperature or how fleeting you consider the time period. Read: Your Car is a Potential Death Trap

Helping Hands

Many animal shelters are feeling the effects of the drought more than the average household and are in danger of running out of water supplies for drinking, cleaning and medical procedures. You can generously assist these organisations by:

  • donating fresh bottled water
  • donating your treated water supplies from your own catchment facilities or boreholes at home

It’s also important to focus on the other residents of our garden, such as birds, insects, reptiles and the like:

  • Invest in a bird bath and ensure there’s water in it at all times.
  • If you haven’t got a bird-bath, leave out a combination of shallow and deeper trays of water in partly-shaded areas, some raised and some on the ground of your yard to cater for the thirsty needs of a variety of vital creatures that support the continued existence of our ecosystem.
  • Place additional bird feeders around your garden to ensure birds of all types and sizes can refuel, as the drought has sadly killed off many of their food sources.
  • By piercing a little whole in the bottom of a plastic milk carton and hanging it above your bird bath, birds will be attracted to the dripping noise and appreciative of a refreshing bath or a drink of water.
  • Cover your garden beds with thick layers of mulch to retain water, thereby assisting worms, insects and other creatures.
  • Catch residual shower water in a bucket and use it to the benefit of your garden critters. Remember to ensure the water is soap free or that you only use organic cleaning products that won’t affect your garden wildlife.
  • Ensure there is a generous section of your garden that provides shade for the little creatures residing in your garden – a shade cloth could do wonders if you are short on natural shade provided by trees and foliage.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson

 

Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

 

 

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Disclaimer: The information produced by Infurmation is provided for general and educational purposes only and does not constitute any legal, medical or other professional advice on any subject matter. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always seek the advice of your vet or other qualified health care provider prior to starting any new diet or treatment and with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you suspect that your pet has a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.