Summer is well and truly here and temperatures are climbing! It’s so important to look out for your pet during the warmer months. Overheating can cause animals to suffer heatstroke, which can lead to organ failure and even death. Pets that are elderly, overweight or suffering from a medical condition are particularly susceptible to heatstroke; so too are dogs with flat faces such as pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs.
Here are five tips on keeping your pets cool this summer:
1. Walk your dog very early in the morning or in the early evening. This will help you avoid the hottest part of the day and prevent your pup from dehydrating or burning their paws on hot pavement or asphalt. One way to test if the ground is too hot is to use to Five Second Rule. Place the back of your hand on the surface for five seconds and if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog!
2. Never leave your pet alone in your car or ute. Even when the windows are down or the car is parked in the shade, these precautions are just not enough to stop your pet from overheating. One study found that when the outside temperature is a mild 22 degrees, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees in just an hour. Dogs travelling on the back of utes can also burn their footpads or bodies on the trays, as these get extremely hot in the sun. If you see a distressed dog alone in a car, please call emergency services ASAP. Take the RSPCA pledge never to leave your dog in a hot car here.
3. Make sure your pets have access to plenty of shade and clean, fresh water. It’s worth providing extra water sources too. If your pet normally drinks from one water bowl – set down a few more bowls in different places too, just in case any of the others are accidentally knocked over.
4. On really hot and humid days, bring your pets inside. If you’re able to keep your home cool with air-conditioning, fans or open windows, your pets will thank you for it!
5. Keep your littlest pets in the shade or indoors at all times. Because rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, rats, mice and ferrets are often kept in cages or hutches, they’re not always able to seek out cooler places themselves. Make sure you move them into a shady, well-ventilated area in hot weather – or better yet, bring them inside into a cooler room like the laundry.
Looking out for wildlife
Our Australian wildlife might be used to the summer heat, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them! Look out for our native fauna by leaving bowls of fresh, clean water in areas where they’ll be able to drink both undisturbed and protected. Shallow dishes are better for smaller animals – but if you’re using a bigger container, leave a rock or stick next to it so that little creatures can climb out as needed.
If you see a wild animal that looks confused or disoriented, they may be suffering from heat stress. Click here for more information on what to do if this happens.