As the Australian summer kicks off, we’re bearing the brunt of rising temperatures and warm weather. It’s important to remember that your furry family members are feeling the impact and need extra special T.L.C to stay cool, calm, and collected. Here are Take Your Pet’s top suggestions for a pet-friendly summer, whether you’re at home or holidaying.
Take the temperature right down
Many pets, and dogs in particular, can struggle to keep themselves cool and regulate their body heat, so help them out in any way possible by creating shaded, cool areas within the house and backyard. Consider tiled areas of the home, shaded outdoor areas, and even commercial cooling mats. Be wary of leaving your pet outside for any length of time, especially around the middle of the day. If you’re home to supervise, use fans and air-conditioning to keep them cool and content.
Gently sponging your pet down with cool water, playing with the hose, digging out the kiddy ‘clam’ pools or heading to a pet-friendly beach are all great options to have fun in the heat, while avoiding excessive exercise.
NEVER leave pets in a car unattended. An open window will do little to help a heat-affected animal, and temperatures can quickly skyrocket within a vehicle, often proving fatal.
H20 alllllll day
It can sound like common sense, but warmer temperature means ramping up water consumption. You’ll need to be changing water more frequently and it’s preferable to set up multiple bowls in different locations. This ensures that harsh sun exposure doesn’t heat up your pet’s only source of hydration. Do what you can to secure bowls so they can’t be knocked over, especially if you are going out.
It’s helpful to up the ratio of wet food in your pet’s diet, to increase water content, and frozen pup meet can provide a delicious cool treat. Feed for the heat and be aware that while your pet’s appetite may decrease slightly. This doesn’t pose a problem if they are healthily hydrated and protected from sun and heat exposure.
Observe carefully and act immediately
Heatstroke can pose a serious threat for your furry family members, so it’s essential to be vigilant and watch for signs. Heatstroke happens when an animal’s heat regulation system is overwhelmed and this prevents them from maintaining a healthy body temperature. The RSPCA identifies the following symptoms:
- rapid pulse
- excessive, desperate panting
- lack of coordination
- ‘brick red’ gums
If you observe these symptoms, it can signal a medical emergency. Using cool water, drench your pet immediately for 5-10 minutes, avoiding the nose. Direct fans and air-con their way and supply fresh water. If you see no visible improvement in this time, they must be taken to a vet immediately. Keep them soaking wet, but do not wrap them in a wet towel as this can trap the heat and exacerbate the problem.
You take care to slip slop slap in the Australian heat, and your furry friends are no exception. Protect animals with short, light coloured fur and pink eyelids, noses and ears in particular, using a pet-friendly sunscreen on areas that they cannot lick. If your animal suffers sunburn, the go-to remedy should be applying cool running water to the affected area for at least ten minutes and avoiding sun exposure thereafter.
By keeping aware of how the heat is affecting your pets, you can make summer time cool and carefree. Now, go enjoy that icy pole and plunge pool!