Save your pets in this extreme weather

Save your pets in this extreme weather
Dogs enjoy a few seconds of afternoon water fun. —PHOTOS BY CHRISTINE ANG-BUBAN

“If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.” 

That’s a general rule that Anna Cabrera, executive director of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), wishes to relay to those who are worrying about the wellbeing of their pets in the extreme heat currently being experienced nationwide. 

The temperature is not expected to drop soon. In an interview with PTV News last April 18, Ana Liza Solis, climate monitoring and prediction section chief of the Department of Science and Technology-Pagasa, said historically high temperatures have been recorded in the Philippines during the months of April and May. Thus, Filipinos should brace for even hotter days in the coming weeks.

And animal lovers have much to be concerned about during these troubling times.


Cabrera observes that “with global warming and less trees, the heat is getting very bad.” She finds it “alarming” that many Filipinos looking for pet dogs are choosing purebreds or shih tzus belonging to the Brachycephalic breeds. (According to, Brachycephalic breeds are those that are short-nosed and flat-faced, or whose muzzle looks like it has been flattened or squashed inwards. “Their bottom jaw is disproportionately longer than their upper jaw, and the dog may look as though their lower jaw sticks out.”) 

Filipinos may not be aware that Brachycephalic breeds, as cute as they are, suffer most during intense heat, Cabrera tells, underscoring the importance of knowing the breed of one’s dog and what effects the summer heat has on them.

She cites an incident where a French bulldog was found dead in a room: “The house help just closed the door of the room. In this heat, without any air-conditioning or any other ventilation, it is dangerous for any dog, especially of the Brachycephalic breeds, to be kept inside [a closed space].” 

She laments reports of people who buy huskies, or dogs who have a double coat and are suited to live in a cold climate, and just keep them in cages, exposed to the heat. Of course, she points out, Pinoy dogs and cats—the beloved aspin and puspin—also need protection from situations that adversely affect purebred pets. 

Philippine Animal Welfare Society executive director Anna Cabrera says that pets should have access to clean, fresh water every day.

Making sure that pets have access to clean, fresh water at all times, especially in this extreme heat, is important.  

In the PAWS shelter, an empty water bowl is a major infraction. Cabrera says she understands seeing empty food bowls because there’s a feeding schedule that is followed. (The shelter animals are fed twice daily, at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.). But it’s a different thing when it involves water. “The water must always be there,” she says. “In fact, part of our orientation is, if they see an animal area without water, they should report it to the shelter manager who will then call the attention of the caretaker, and a stern reminder will be given on the importance of the matter.” 

As a pet organization, PAWS holds Halloween contests where dogs and cats wear costumes. “They’re inside the mall and they just go up the stage for an hour or a few minutes, after which their costumes are removed,” Cabrera says. She notes that many Filipinos love to dress up their pets. “I guess in a mall setting, since the place is air-conditioned, it’s okay for our pets,” she says. “But if it’s in a regular environment, I suggest not to dress them up.”  

It’s the pets’ health and comfort and that should be first and foremost, Cabrera says, adding: “We love it when we see a cute dog in a stroller, but we should also be responsible and think of other things like, has the dog been vaccinated? Spayed or neutered?”


A fur parent thinking of taking one’s pet to the groomer for a summer cut should be reminded that dogs actually sweat through their paws and tongue. An entry in the website states: “Although wearing a fur coat in the summer might increase your risk of heat stroke, the same isn’t true for your pets. Their coats actually provide a built-in heating and cooling system. During the winter, your dog or cat’s fur offers warmth when it lies flat against the body. When temperatures soar, the individual hairs in your pet’s coat stand upright, maximizing air flow.” 

There’s a post in the PAWS Facebook page showing a dog rescued in Fairview, Quezon City, with first-degree burns on his front paws. They named the dog Benjie. “The weird thing is only his front paws were injured,” says Cabrera. “We presumed that he stepped on a discarded piece of galvanized roof exposed for hours under the sun.” 

A graphic photo of Benjie’s burned front paws was posted to make people aware that it’s not okay to walk their dogs on a scorching hot pavement, especially during summer. Cabrera suggests grassy areas for walking, with no strenuous activities for pets for the time being. 

Would having pet dogs wear shoes remedy the situation? According to Cabrera, PAWS is against dogs wearing shoes because it’s through the glands in the paw pads, and the tongue, that they sweat. “It’s really bothersome to let them wear shoes,” she says. “Now, if dogs are made to wear shoes inside an air-conditioned mall, then maybe it’s okay. But definitely not outside.” 


There’s no escaping this oppressive heat. Cabrera says responsible pet owners should share with their fur babies what make them comfortable, such as a place in an air-conditioned room, a space reached by an electric fan, a shaded area outdoors, even a handy hand fan. 

Cabrera says she respects people who say frankly that they have no pets because they have no time to give these pets the necessary care. She regrets that there are many who insist on having many pets but are neglectful of their welfare. 

With the challenges that animal welfare advocates have been facing, especially during this scorching hot summer, it’s a statement that gives voice to the cry for help of voiceless and helpless animals, and a wake-up call for those who have the means to make the world a better place for them, in all kinds of weather. 

We are, after all, responsible for the creatures that we tame.

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