How to help your pets beat the heat this summer
RSPCA NSW is urging all pet owners to keep their pets cool, hydrated, and safe this summer.
As temperatures across northern NSW begin to rise above 30C, it is crucial pet owners make precautions for their pets to avoid potential heat stress, and fatalities, this summer.
Your pets cannot always cool themselves down, so as a responsible pet owner, it is your job to keep them cool during the hot summer months.
• If possible, bring your pets indoors where there is shade, and possibly airconditioning, to provide a cool environment to chill in. Do not under any circumstances leave pets unattended in locked cars, even if you are parked in shade or have the windows down.
• If pets are to be outdoors during the heatwave, it is important to provide access to shaded areas to protect your pets from the sun. This can be done by Installing shade cloths and umbrellas in your backyard or by planting tall native flora in the garden.
• Remember to apply pet-friendly zinc to the ears and noses of pets prone to sunburn, including cats and dogs with white fur and pink noses.
• It is essential to ensure your pet has access to plenty of fresh water, which includes providing multiple sources for them to drink from in cool places out of the sun. Consider also providing bird baths for our domesticated and wild feathered friends to frolic and cool off in.
• Place ice in your pet's bowls to help cool their water sources but check that your pet is comfortable with the change in water temperature. Freezing some pet food can also make a delicious ice block that will cool and entertain your pet as it defrosts.
• Pocket pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, are not immune from the heat and can benefit from ice bricks wrapped in towels and cooling mats placed in their hutches.
• Avoid exercising dogs in the middle of the day as this can lead to heat stress. Their feet pads can burn on hot surfaces such as cement and sand. Pay attention to flat-faced breeds (brachycephalic) such as Pugs and Bulldogs as they have a greater difficulty regulating heat.
If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, please contact your closest RSPCA veterinary hospital or your local veterinarian immediately.