The RSPCA is urging pet owners to be vigilant in protecting their animals from heat stress this Summer.
RSPCA recommends pet owners plan ahead to keep their pets happy and healthy over summer, and to learn the early indicators of heat stress, including panting heavily, drinking more than usual, drooling and becoming lethargic.
Dogs are especially susceptible to heat-related illness because unlike humans, they can only cool themselves by panting, and sweating through their paws and nose.
Heat-stress can quickly evolve into heat stroke if not dealt with, which is a potentially fatal condition that can cause vomiting, seizures and loss of consciousness.
RSPCA recommends some simple things pet owners can do to protect pets this summer:
- Never leave an animal in a car. Temperatures can rise quickly, even in the shade with windows down. Dogs can die in as little as six minutes in a hot car.
- Make sure your pets have access to plenty of shade and clean, fresh water. It is 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.
- 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.
- On hot days, walk your dog very early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cool and don’t walk on hot surfaces such as sand or concrete. If you can’t hold the back of your hand to the surface for more than a few seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
- 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.
- Give your dog an ice block or frozen treat
This summer, staff and volunteers at RSPCA’s Lonsdale shelter are getting a little help from local company, Bobbies Petcare to make frozen treats. The company has donated more than 1,000 serves of ice treats and chicken broth to the Lonsdale shelter to keep RSPCA SA’s dogs cool this summer.
The unique treats are made in SA with no artificial colours or preservatives and have been on sale for the past few months at RSPCA PetVille and RSPCA’s Op Shops throughout Adelaide.
More information about keeping dogs safe in heat can be found here: https://justsixminutes.com.au/
Photo by Jack Geoghegan from Pexels