Tips to keep your pet safe in hot weather
Summer is a favourite time of the year but can be a dangerous period for our pets. Below are some tips to keep your pet safe in hot weather. Heat stroke, aka heat stress, in our pets occur when heat production exceeds heat loss, leading to a high body temperature (hyperthermia) and in some cases thermal injury to tissues.
If left untreated, heat stress leads to multiple organ failure and death. It can be extremely fast. Heatstroke related fatalities are particularly common in pets housed outdoors during a hot day. Pregnant animals are at an increased risk.
Certain breeds of dogs and cats can be more affected by the heat, particularly those with shortened noses, and narrow airways such as Pugs, French bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles and other short nosed (brachycephalic) breeds. Also animals with a heavy coat such as Huskies and Pomeranian breeds. It may be of benefit to consider having any long-haired dogs or cats clipped by a groomer over summer as a preventative measure, this also makes tick searching much easier.
With severe hot weather, we recommend all pets be moved indoors with a fan/air conditioner. If this is not possible some veterinary clinics & boarding kennels can provide air-conditioned day boarding.
Tips to keep your pet safe in hot weather
There are several precautionary steps you can take to help keep your pet cool and healthy over the summer.
- If your pet is outdoors, please ensure that all outdoor enclosures are placed out of direct sunlight and that your pet has access to shade all day. Please keep in mind, the sun moves so what was a shady spot at 10am can be in full sun at 11am.
- Provide fresh, clean water daily. On hot days you might consider putting an ice cube in the water dispenser. Make sure sipper bottles are not blocked (rabbits and guinea pigs love blowing balls of grass up the nozzle of the sipper, causing a blockage).
- Remove uneaten food daily. This should be routine but it’s particularly important in the heat as can attract flies.
- Leave a wet towel for your pet to sit on.
- Create a doggy Ice block by filling a container with water, sprinkle dry food, then freeze the night before.
- A child’s plastic seashell sand pit makes a great pool for a dog.
- Place a stick in your water bowl, so wildlife can climb out.
- Never leave pets unattended in a car.
- Wait till the sun has gone down before you take your dog for a walk. If the ground is too hot for your bare feet for 5 seconds then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.
- If you have an aviary, you can purchase mist sprinklers for the top of your aviary to keep your birds cool on a hot day.
- Rabbits & guinea pigs do not sweat therefore cannot regulate their body temperature. They do not tolerate hot weather so best to keep them in air conditioning on hot days.
- Please keep in mind even in the shade on a 38+ degree day, a pet can overheat & get heat stress/stroke simply by breathing in the hot air.
Warning signs of heat stroke
Some symptoms to keep an eye out for include:
- Panting excessively
- Moving sluggishly
- Excess salivation, drooling
- Reluctance to move
- Acting woozy
- Losing consciousness
If your pet is showing any of the above symptoms make sure you
- Ensure your pet is breathing and remove it from the hot environment.
- Wrap your pet in a cool wet towel. Avoid the temptation to apply ice cold water as this can cause hypothermia.
- Seek veterinary attention immediately.
Extra Dangerous for Brachycephalic Breeds
If there are any signs of distress such as panting excessively, breathing quickly, or unexpected lethargy please seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. Heat stress can unfortunately be fatal if treatment of the condition is not sought promptly.
Read more about heat stroke, aka heat stress, in rabbits and guinea pigs and tips to help keep them safe.
If you have any concerns, please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospital;
Newtown (02)9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville
Inner West (02)9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore
Norwest (02)8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista
Kellyville (02)8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville
Newport (02)9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport
Avalon (02)9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach
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