Keeping Your Pet Safe This Summer
Temperatures across Australia have already begun to soar this summer and the Bureau of meteorology suggests that we’re heading into above average temperatures over the next 3 months.
As important as it is to look after ourselves, stay cool and don’t get too much sun this summer it’s just as important to make sure we do the same for our four-legged friends!
We asked 10 industry experts to share their insights and knowledge on how you can keep your furry friend happy and healthy on extremely hot days.
Here's their answers...
Helen Veless - Curly Tails Bowen Therapy
HOT WEATHER TIPS: Enjoy this lovely weather but please take care of the animals too.
It’s really important that pets be kept in cool, shady areas. If at all possible bring pets indoors on hot days, especially older pets.
Air conditioning, wading pools, cool mats or towels soaked in cool water left around the place for your animals to seek out a cool spot throughout the day.
Large Ice blocks frozen in ice cream containers added to water bowls helps keep the water cool for longer.
Small pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, are particularly at risk. Bring these animals indoors during hot weather or if that’s not possible, make sure the animals' enclosures are out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun as the shade moves throughout the day. Under a cool shady tree is ideal but check that the shade doesn’t disappear when the sun moves.
Provide plenty of fresh, cool water in large water containers for dogs. Be sure to provide numerous sources of water in case one is tipped over. Keep the containers in the shade to keep them cool. Leave shallow bowls of water in your garden so wildlife can keep cool but remember to put a stick or stone in it so they can climb out if they fall in.
Don’t walk your dog when the ground is hot as it can severely burn the skin off their feet. For a quick test, press your hand on to the pavement for 5 seconds. If it's too hot for your hand then it's too hot for your dogs feet! Leave any walks to either early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures have dropped.
NEVER leave your pet in the car in warm weather. It only takes a few minutes for an animal to suffer an agonising death if left in a hot car.
4Lyfe Rescue Inc
Crate-trained pets will appreciate a cooling pad in their safe space, cooling pads can also be incorporated into place/mat training providing you with a new activity to keep your pet stimulated when they can't be outdoors.
Deb Williams - Samoyeds of the Peninsula
If you can’t stay inside, having shade and lots of water bowls or a paddle pool in the backyard is a good idea.
We enjoy a swim and romp on the beach in the evening as the temperature starts to cool down. The sand is too hot on our feet to go to the beach or for a walk during the day. Always take fresh water to the beach, as drinking salt water can be dangerous.
When we go on roadtrips, we each have a water bowl and a fan in our crates in the car.
Its impawtant to make sure you know the closest vet if traveling to different areas, and to make sure that you stay alert for snakes, ticks and other nasties.
Helen - Pooches And Pinot
On hot days, keep your pets indoors where possible. If possible, limit outdoor activity to the early morning and late evening, when temperatures are likely to be lower and carry water with you when walking your dog.
If they have to be outside, provide plenty of shade and fresh water and make sure that your pet can’t spill the water source, or have a number of bowls in different places.
If you have to go out and leave your pet at home, add ice cubes to their water bowl to keep water cooler longer.
Let your dog play in a cool water ‘bath’ or a kiddie pool. Think ahead and make sure there will still be shade available as the sun moves.
Never leave a pet unattended in a parked car, even for ‘just a minute.’ Leaving the windows partially rolled down doesn’t help, as a car acts like a greenhouse and just heats up.
Freeze some carrots or apple slices for a tasty, healthy & refreshing snack for your dog on a hot day.
Cooling mats are great if you don’t have a cool floor your dog can lie on. Or make a home-made version with freezer blocks or a frozen plastic bottle of water, well wrapped in a blanket in your dog’s bed.
When a dog overheats it can lead to heatstroke. Look out for signs of heavy panting, loss of energy, weakness or stumbling. If your pet seems to suffer from the heat, stop in a shaded area and give it some fresh water. If possible, wet a towel or blanket in cold (not freezing) water and drape over your dog. If things don’t improve quickly, get yourselves off to the vet.
Dr James Haberfield - Unusual Pet Vets
Remember that your unusual pets feel the heat too, particularly small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. Keep them inside in the air con on warm days.
Provide a frozen water bottle for your rabbit to lie up against on warmer days and make sure they can escape the heat on hot days.
Double check your reptile thermostats are working correctly to make sure they don't overheat during hotter days.
Shane - Hemp Hounds
Always ensure your pet has cool, clean water readily available at home. Always make sure that their water is in a cool, shady location out of direct sunlight.
We always recommend having a couple of different water areas available to your pet around the home, e.g. Water bowls available in the backyard, front yard and in the garage. This ensures your pets will not dehydrate throughout the day.
Always remember when taking your pets for a walk to remember the temperature of the ground they are walking over. Throughout summer we always walk our dogs in forested shady areas, or by the ocean or lake.
If we do walk them close to home we recommend avoiding footpaths and bitumen and sticking to the grass so avoid burning their pads and paws.
Always make sure your older pets have somewhere shady and cool to rest throughout the day, ideally close by to a water bowl. We recommend making particular attention to your older pets throughout summer as the heat of the day can zap a substantial amount of energy from them and can cause anxiety and stress in older pets.
We also recommend a durable and comfortable collar and lead for your dogs, Hemp Hounds Hemp dog leads and collar are perfect for active dogs throughout summer, as they can withstand wind, salt and rain.
Tiaan Dreyer - Knose
The Christmas period is a special time of year but can sometimes
be overwhelming for us and our pets. The noises, people and smells of good food can either be a wonder or potentially cause serious problems. With a little awareness, the entire family can have a wonderful holiday period with no unwanted visits to the vet.
Here are some tips for a happy festive time for all:
- Keep ornaments out of reach, small objects can be choking hazard, or worse, could have you going to the vet for emergency ornament removal!
- The increased activity, noise and added people around the house can lead to anxiety in a number of pets. Be mindful to make sure your pets have a safe haven to escape these changes.
- Try and resist those puppy dog eyes and cats meows when it comes to human food. These can cause gastrointestinal upsets and in some cases are toxic, like chocolate and grapes.
The summertime is also a time for a number of new puppies and kittens. Having a new fur baby in your household can be very overwhelming if you need some pointers, have a look at our blog there is some information to help you on your way.
Rockinangel Staffordshire Bull Terriers
The Keeping pets safe in australia as we all know Australia’s climate can be quite drastic with searing hot summers. Dogs need access to fresh water daily, whether they be inside or out .
If housed outside, dogs must have access to a solid covered shaded area which will protect them from direct sun, rain and wind and access to fresh water daily .
Our dogs are always housed inside our home treated like a family member. Constant access to fresh water around the home, their own pet bedding and the running of air conditioning.
We found that the use of cooling mats are fantastic even a wet towel can provide a dog with a cool area to lay on. Remember pets can suffer from heat exhaustion and burns just like us humans, be aware of the ground they walk on.
Emilia - Ethical Dog Services
No matter what kind of animal you are taking care of, whether it is your own pet or the wild magpies in your backyard, the first most important thing to do provide is water!
It does not have to be ice cool as the colder the water, the more energy the body uses to establish normal body temperature which can lead to exhaustion.
Regularly check the water temperature as metal bowls heat water up very quickly. Ideally keep animals indoors but if you can't, please provide as much shade as possible and take any animals to the vet if they show any signs of heat stroke. Fun fact; dogs dig in the dirt and then lay in it to reach the coolness of the earth!
Dr Andrew Kapsis - Lort Smith Animal Hospital
Giving Pets as Christmas Gifts
The decision to adopt a pet is for life.
Parents need to recognise they will need to take care of a pet given to their child.
Although we don’t recommend adopting a pet as a surprise Christmas present, having time off at Christmas is
a great time to settle a new pet into your family.
At Lort Smith, we encourage responsible, well thought out adoption of pets during the Christmas season,
because it is so important that a pet is right for the carers lifestyle. A dog, cat or rabbit needs to fit into the
home, and get along well with other pets and family members.
Potential adopters need to bond with an animal before making the decision and commitment to make them
part of the family.
Accidents are a part of life, but sometimes they can be costly. Consider pet insurance as the cost of medical
care for an animal can be significant.
Over the summer period we see quite a few injuries that were the result of dogs panicking and trying to
escape the sound of the fireworks.
Fireworks can be frightening for pets. If you are leaving your dog home on a night when fireworks are
scheduled, you should shut the windows and turning on the TV or radio to provide some calming white noise.
Make sure your pet is microchipped so that if he or she does escape, you will be reunited more quickly. If it
has been a while since you checked your pet’s microchip details, now is a great time to visit your vet to check
the details, as well as general health check before the silly season begins.
Aussie summers lend themselves to barbeques and relaxed dining, but you aren’t doing your dog any favours
by giving them the leftover snags.
At Lort Smith, we are seeing an increasing number of dogs with health problems such as pancreatitis and
obesity, so avoid giving your dog fatty meats (which they can’t digest properly) and keep cooked bones, well
away from dogs.
Other foods that are harmful to dogs include grapes, nuts, chips, lollies, chocolate and of course alcohol.
Coping with Heat
Pets with underlying medical issues, flat-faced breeds, the very young and the very old are most at risk.
Do not tether animals out in the sun and don’t leave them in cars, even for a short time with the windows
down. In a car, heat stress and death can occur within a few minutes.
Heat stroke can set in extremely fast if an animal is exposed and you must seek veterinary attention
Warning signs of heat stroke in pets include:
• excessive panting
• dark or bright red tongue and gums
• sticky or dry gums and tongue
If you are concerned your pet has been affected, get them into a cooler environment; use wet cloths but not
iced water to cool them; and offer them water but don’t force them to drink.
Even if the animal cools and appears to recover, we recommend taking it to a vet as for a thorough check as
internal organs could have been affected.
Five top tips to protect your pet in heat:
- Make sure your pets have constant access to cool water and shade or keep them indoors, as heat. Stress can develop extremely quickly on hot days.
- Have more than one source of water, so that if a bowl gets knocked over or the shade disappears, there is an alternative source of cool water.
- Avoid walking or exercising your pet on hot days; otherwise walk your dog in the morning when the temperature is the coolest.
- For smaller animals, such as guinea pigs, a little bag of ice wrapped in small wet towels could provide heat relief, and for birds a gentle misting might help, as long as it doesn’t stress them.
- Some dogs will avoid drinking from bowls with floating ice cubes, but you can freeze half-filled bowls and then top them up with cool water before putting them out.
Bushfires and Pets
Each family should prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan for the entire household and included in that will be your
Pet Evacuation Plan and Relocation Pack.
Make sure that all your pets are microchipped. Your dog and cat should also wear a collar identification tag at
all times, and of course make sure the contact information is current.
Pet Bushfire Relocation Kit inclusions:
- Non-perishable food and water
- A bowl for each pet
- Spare collars and leads for each dog
- A carrier for cats and smaller pets
• Bedding, old towels and a woollen blanket
• A pet first-aid kit - we recommend buying a ready-made kit such as an RSPCA or St Johns pet first aid
kit, including any medications (along with a written list of what they are), your vet’s contact details;
and your pet's medical history, including proof of vaccination.
As the weather is now warmer, snakes are now out and about. People can reduce the chance of their pet
being bitten by:
• Tidying up the backyard and reducing the number of places where snakes may hide, such as in long
grass or underneath metal and timber scraps.
• Controlling vermin such as rats or mice that may attract snakes.
• Keeping dogs on leads during walks, particularly near long grass or bushland or creeks.
Lort Smith always has anti-venom on hand, and although it is an expensive remedy, it is most effective if
administered soon after the bite occurs. With early detection of a snake bite, intense treatment and
monitoring there is a good chance that your pet will survive a snake bite.
Grass seeds are a seasonal hazard for dogs. Most of the time grass seeds get caught in the coat during a walk
or playing in long grass and then get lodged in the skin, usually lodging between the toes, ears, nose, behind
eyelids and in the genitals.
For this reason (and for risk of snake bites) avoid walking your dog in long grass.