This summer is one of the hottest in living memory, with heat waves linking each other and a persistent drought that is beginning to cause concern.

Extreme temperatures negatively affect the health of all living beings. The Carlos III Health Institute estimates that more than 2,100 people died of heat stroke in Spain in July. There is no equivalent data for animals, but it is essential that we protect our pets from extreme heat, and to do so, taking care of their hydration is fundamental.

The first aspect is to make sure that they have fresh water continuously available to them so that they can resort to it when they need it. But food is also key as a source of hydration. From NatuKa, Isabel Calzado, veterinary expert in animal nutrition, offers us some advice to help our dogs and cats to maintain an adequate body temperature in the summer heat.

WATER. The ideal is to have several water troughs at home, some with water at room temperature and others with ice, located in different places, to encourage them to drink frequently. This is especially important for cats, since they are animals that in general drink little water, but as they are very curious, they will surely approach to inspect them. The water should be changed several times a day to refresh it and keep it clean.

REFRESHING FOOD. Dogs and cats use the moisture in food to make digestion easy and light. The lack of moisture in the food means that they have to use their own water reserves for digestion, causing them to become very dehydrated, which they have to compensate for with water intake. The risk is not only dehydration, but also the probability of stomach twisting due to the effect of the water after the feed. Therefore, it is advisable to resort to menus with a high percentage of moisture, based on fresh and natural products, and to take into account these recommendations:

- Avoid very fatty meats or fish, such as lamb or salmon. White fish and lean meats low in saturated fats, such as rabbit or veal, are more suitable for this time of the year.

- Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. In addition to being rich in vitamins, they have a very high moisture level, between 70 and 90%.

- Natural ice cream. This type of food can be bought in specialized pet food stores or made at home.

All you need are some molds, yogurt or kefir and fruit. The fruits should be crushed, mixed with the kefir or yogurt and put in the freezer in the mold. Both kefir and yogurt are great probiotics, so natural ice creams strengthen your intestinal flora and immune system.

- Natural broths. If the dog or cat is not a big drinker, you can use the resource of natural and unsalted bone broths, and replace with them the water in their drinking bowl. As they have a similar taste to meat, they will like it more, which will encourage the intake of liquids.

- Liver and eggs are also good allies for these hot days.

If we take into account these simple tips, we will ensure that our pets are protected against the possible negative effects of high temperatures. And remember that, if you have a dog, taking him to a swimming pool for dogs, to a beach where animals are allowed or, simply, giving him a soak in the bathtub or shower at home, will also be a pleasant way to refresh him.