Animal Health

Heat wave: animals also suffer from heat, some advice to help them.

While 66 departments are on heatwave orange alert this Friday, it is important to ensure that animals can hydrate and refresh themselves.
In this summer period when two thirds of the departments are on heat-orange alert this Friday, animals and humans alike are suffering from the heat. Tips and tricks from animal professionals to help them.

Wet glove and short walks for dogs

Chantal Ragetly, veterinarian at the Isle-Adam clinic (Val d’Oise) has been treating three dogs a day since the beginning of the heat wave, victims of heat stroke.

She suggests “to put a damp washcloth on the dog’s head in case of high heat, to lower his temperature and especially to take short walks to avoid heat stroke”. “If the dog breathes quickly, starts drooling, stops or lies down with his tongue hanging out, he gets heatstroke,” she explains, urging the owners to take their best friend “urgently to the vet after wetting him.

For food, “we prefer pâtée to croquettes, especially for old dogs,” she adds, recalling that “you should never leave a dog or cat in the heat of a car”.

Pool games and showers for dogs in a shelter

“After the walk, we play with the dog in a small swimming pool, a kind of foot bath to refresh him,” explains an animal manager at the Toulon shelter, located on the edge of a pine forest, where about forty dogs are waiting for adoption.

In the Var, where the temperature is almost 35 degrees in the shade, his colleague “waters the ground and the sheets installed on the roof of the boxes several times a day”. They also shower their residents, “but only those who like it”.

The shelter also invested in terrace misters connected to each box and water turnstiles, “while paying attention to water restrictions”.

A water cup for birds

“It is the birds of the gardens that must be helped the most in hot weather, because others can travel long distances to find freshness,” Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, president of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), told Agence France Presse (AFP).

“It is currently a huge necessity to provide them with flower pot baskets: the size is perfect for watering, which has two effects. Water allows birds to clean their plumage, because they have parasites at the moment and, on the other hand, they come to drink. Birds eat little and drink little, but often,” he explains.

In our gardens, “we can therefore help the most common ones, such as Turkish turtledoves, robins and goldfinches,” says the defender of birds of all feathers.

Banana ice cubes for gorillas

At the Amnéville zoo (Moselle) where more than 2000 animals live, some pens are equipped with misters and equipped with many vegetation. Gorillas, brown bears and even sea lions enjoy meat or vegetable ice cubes, while other animals take showers.

“The most northern species, such as the snow leopard, have misters in their pens. In the morning and afternoon, ostriches and elephants are cooled with showers at room temperature,” says Hervé Santerre, zoo director.

“Between meals, we give banana ice cubes to gorillas, meat ice cubes or croquettes to brown bears, but also sea lions, which play with, to the delight of visitors,” he says.

How the animals at the zoo spend the winter

Thoiry, it’s over for 2013. The famous zoo closes its doors tonight until February 15. For three months, the park will find its tranquility, the animals, their tranquility and the carersâ?¦ on busy days. Because contrary to popular belief, winter is a time of intense activity in zoos. Animals spend more time in their pens heated to between 12 and 15°C, which must be cleaned much more often.

Another preconceived idea that must be challenged is that the residents of the area can withstand the cold very well, despite their African origins. Most of them have a winter coat that allows them to spend their day outdoors. This is the case of the lion, for example, which centuries ago still lived in the mountains of Macedonia. Antelopes will also withstand the rigours of winter. Tigers, camels, bears and wildebeests will not be a concern for Thoiry’s healers,” says Christophe Grossiord, head of ungulates and birds at Thoiry Zoo, “Generally speaking, cold is not a concern. Nights are very cool in the desert or in some parts of South Africa and the animals are used to it. »

The elephant could see the end of his trunk freeze

It is mainly the consequences of the cold that must be monitored. Giraffes, for example, are exposed to a slide on ice that could pull them apart. Elephants must be careful that the tip of their trunks do not freeze. We won’t take them out. Cheetahs and rhinos are also among those that will be protected from winter.

Above all, healers fear humidity. Combined with the cold, it promotes the development of bacteria in the grass that herbivores graze. “This leads to serious outbreaks of diarrhoea. That is why we prefer a period of dry and intense cold. All parasites are killed,” adds the specialist. The animals are therefore closely monitored and receive vitamins and medicines as needed. Their portion of food is adapted to fight the cold. Lions eat 4 to 5 kg of red meat per day and elephants eat a quintal of hay every day.

Visit a zoo in winter

In the minds of many people, exotic animals only live in warm countries. However, some people are never as happy as they are in the cold. For them, the Quebec freeze is not insurmountable, quite the contrary.

Granby Zoo now chooses its residents based on their ability to withstand the cold. Visitors can therefore observe many exotic animals in the snow. “In winter, more than 80% of our animal collection is accessible to the public,” explains Hélène Bienvenue, spokesperson for the zoo.

Among these animals, we can see Japanese macaques, love tigers, snow leopards, wallabies, llamas, alpacas and even zebras. The winter quarters of elephants and giraffes also open their doors to visitors. Several exterior fires warm up the site and the interior pavilions are accessible.

“This winter, our goalkeepers will put a lot of emphasis on our 2013 stars, who are our newborns. We will introduce you to our three small pandas (not to be confused with the big pandas), our three love tigers, our snow leopard and our baby yak,” said Ms. Bienvenue.

Granby Zoo is not the only zoological garden that continues its activities below zero. At one hour from Montreal, Parc Omega never closes its doors, even on Christmas Day.

“Under the snow, the animals parade in their most beautiful clothes. It’s really magical,” says Karina Lavictoire, marketing manager at Parc Omega. During the holidays, it is the reindeer (caribou) that steal the spotlight, because of their affiliation with Santa Claus…

In Quebec City

At the Aquarium du Québec, located in the Old Capital, the interior spaces remain open, as does the outdoor site, with its seals, walruses, Arctic foxes and polar bears. When night sets in, it’s the Festi Lumière that begins. More than 500,000 lights transform the outdoor site into a fantasy world. Illuminated slides, inflatable games and songwriters get involved.

Good news for families, the stairs disappeared in 2013. The routes are therefore becoming more accessible by stroller, sled and for people with reduced mobility.

In Lac-Saint-Jean, the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien never hibernates. For the past twenty years, the institution has been welcoming visitors for a safari under the snow. Almost all species are visible.