How to keep your pets safe in hot weather
Don’t over exercise your pet or go for long walks. It is a good idea to shorten your usual outings and do them early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are lower. You may like to take your pet to the local beach, creek or river to let it have a paddle to cool down. But don't forget asphalt, sandy beaches and other similar surfaces can get really hot with the midday sun and burn your dog or cat's pads causing pain for days.
NEVER leave your pet in a car, shed or garage even if the windows are open, as they can very quickly become hot enough to cause heatstroke.
ALWAYS make sure there is plenty of fresh water available. If you are not going to be home for a long period of time, ensure that there is more than one source of water in case one is knocked over or runs out.
Keep your pet in a cool and shaded environment. Draw blinds or curtains to help keep a room cool and block out the sun.
Keep air circulating with a fan or ideally an air conditioner.
Do not leave your pet’s food in direct sun exposure for long. It is also OK for your pet to eat less during hot days.
Don’t forget the rest of your animals
Birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets are also highly susceptible to heat stress. Ensure you move their cage indoors in a cool and shaded place.
- Dogs cannot perspire as human do so they have to pant to cool themselves
- Dogs and Cats have higher internal temperatures than humans and can therefore quickly suffer from heat exhaustion
- Like humans, young, overweight and older pets are more prone to heatstroke
- Dogs and Cats can also get sunburned if they spend too long in the sun (particularly dogs and cats with short or white hair)
What are the signs of heat stress?
It is a good idea to know the signs of heat stress in pets. These can include:
- Shallow breathing
- Thick Saliva
- Glazed eyes
- Deep red tongue
- Excessive panting
- Rapid heart rate
What to do if you think your pet is suffering for heat stress?
- Cool the animal as quickly as possible by spraying cool (not cold) water on him or wrapping him in cool moist towels in front of a fan.
- Don’t put them in an ice bath as this will have the reverse effect.
- Contact your veterinarian and seek professional help immediately.
For more info read RSPCA Victoria's tips for keeping your pet cool during summer.