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Heat & Smoke
As temperatures continue to soar across Australia, Pet Insurance Australia takes a look at some top tips to keep pets cool and comfortable.
“It’s fair to say that temperatures around this great land of ours, is becoming unbearable,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Pets can succumb to the heat, and humidity very quickly so pet owners need to be diligent in helping keep them cool on very hot days.”
Dogs and cats are unable to cool themselves as efficiently as humans. This can lead to overheating, heat exhaustion, stress, and heatstroke. Dog will tend to rely on their ability to pant to cool themselves, while cats will groom in order to keep their bodies from overheating.
But if the temperatures get too hot, and your pet is unable to cool themselves efficiently, it can spell disaster.
“Pets get sick very quickly when they overheat,” Crighton warns. “Humidity plays a role in this also, if your pet is every showing signs of over-heating stress veterinary treatment is paramount.”
TIPS FOR KEEPING PETS COOL
- Provide ample drinking water – out of the sun and not in steel buckets. Pet water fountains are wonderful in encouraging pets to drink. PIA also advises taking a portable pet drinking bottle with you on outings.
- Allow free water play – think children’s clamshells with a small amount of water or those foldable dog pools. If you have a pool, consider using a specially designed pet ramp for safety.
- Shade – it’s important to check that your pet has ample shaded areas throughout the day.
- Cool spots – hose down under-trees and other soil areas to keep shaded spots cool.
- Access – allow access to cool areas in your home; like bathrooms, and kitchen floors.
- Close curtains and keep your home naturally cool.
- Cool fun – ice blocks or ice-cream containers frozen with water with a few treats added for cool fun play.
- Use cool pads and mats commonly found in pet shops.
- Exercise – Only walk your pet in the cooler times of the day.
“You can really get creative when it comes to keeping pets cool during the summer months,” Crighton says. “It’s important to also remember that some dog breeds can’t swim, so water play must be kept in very very shallow water or puddles.”
Certain dog breeds are also much more likely to suffer from heat-related issues.
“Brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, are more susceptible to the heat,” Crighton says. “Keeping these pets cool is very important to prevent health issues.”
SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE & HEAT STRESS IN PETS
- Pet distress
- Excessive panting
- Copious volumes of saliva
- Bright red or bluish-purple gums
“Use your intuition,” Crighton says. “If your pet does not seem right, seek help quickly.”
ALL THAT SMOKE
The threat of smoke is also a huge problem for many pet owners currently in fire zones. Vets around these areas are witnessing an increase in breathing-related issues and nausea.
“Currently the smoke is choking in some major cities, and our pets will also be feeling the effects of this,” Crighton says. “Pet owners do need to take some steps to help their pets during this time.”
For cats – keep them inside during this time, with plenty of food, water, and a litter tray. PIA also advises wiping down your cat daily with a soft damp cloth to remove any ash or debris from their coats.
“Cats are prolific cleaning machines, removing the ash from their coats can help with stomach upsets during this time,” Crighton says. “Dogs will also benefit from a regular rinse with fresh water.”
Dogs also need to be kept inside as much as possible until the smoke clears. PIA also notes that if your pet is struggling with the smoke to seek veterinary treatment quickly.
“Many brachycephalic dogs breeds such as French Bulldogs may be struggling with the smoke more than other dogs and cats,” Crighton says. “If you are concerned about your pet’s breathing seek help quickly.”
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Feature photo by Jason Wong