With the rising temperatures across Australia, many of our pets are feeling the heat. Here are some easy ways to ensure your pet keeps cool and comfortable this summer.
As the thermostats hit HOT, many of our pets struggle with the rising temperatures. Sadly it’s around this time of year that veterinarians see many cases of heatstroke. The most affected are;
- Older pets
- Young pets
- Certain breeds (brachycephalic breeds or those who have a short noses like British Bulldogs)
- Pets who suffer from a range of conditions, such as obesity.
Ensure your animals have access to a constant supply of clean cool water. Keeping water bowls out of the sun is also important. On a weekend check your animal’s water-bowl hourly. This way you can be sure it is not left in the sun at any point during the day. A water bowl tucked safely in the shade during the morning may be in the full sun come lunchtime. Another tip is to use a ceramic bowl, or plastic bowl. Steel bowls can get hot very quickly and your beloved companion animal will not drink hot/warm water. You can also pop a few ice-cubes into your pet’s water-bowl to keep it cool throughout the day. For larger dogs a great tip is to freeze water bottles and pop them into your pet’s bucket of water. Also consider having more than one bowl, this way you can be sure your pet will have access to plenty of water at all times of the day.
A nice cool spot to lie during the steaming days is very important. Dogs and cats will prefer to sleep the day away in the cool comfort of a shady tree or undercover area (tiles or cold concrete being the most preferred). If you notice your dog is digging before lying down, they are trying to scratch a cool area to lie in. Hosing down this area before leaving for work will keep the soil cool and damp allowing your pet to easily get comfortable during the searing heat. Providing ample shade for your animals is very important. Again, like where to place their water bowl, check they have shade all through the day and not just in the morning. Kennels can also heat up pretty quickly, if you can, place their kennel under a tree or undercover area.
For those really hot days try and encourage your cat to stay indoors. Cool areas like laundry’s and bathrooms are ideal places. Fill the sink with plenty of water and have a simple bed for them to lie on. If your cat is an outdoor dweller make sure you always check cars, greenhouses, sheds and garages before leaving the house. A cat can rapidly succumb to heatstroke if trapped in an area that heats up quickly.
In very hot weather it is best not to over-exercise your pet. If it is too hot for you to run around, it is also not advisable for your pet. Consider a nice gentle walk in the evenings or very early morning and opt out of the endless ball chasing or off leash run. Dogs, in particular, will overheat very quickly in hot weather when exercising. Learn the symptoms of heatstroke and always be sensible when exercising in the height of summer. When walking; take a portable doggy water-bowl so your pet can have a drink at anytime. There are many cheap compactable designs around, or choose your walk in areas that have taps your pooch can drink from. If you live in a dog-friendly area, perhaps ask the dog owners to place a drinking bowls or buckets at their letterboxes during the summer months (even consider dropping a flyer in the mailbox and start a dog-friendly drinking revolution in your area).
If you want to beat the heat (and the boredom), consider freezing an ice-cream container full of water with a few biscuits inside. This will see your dog push and lick the giant ice-cube full of goodies for hours. Keeping him cool and entertained all at once. Frozen dog bones can also keep Fido cool and happy during the day. Cats will also enjoy chasing around an ice-cube, particularly if a few kitty-treats are frozen inside. For a cat, use a basic ice-cube tray instead of an ice-cream container.
It is extremely important that every pet owner understands the early signs of heatstroke. Dogs and cats die very quickly from heatstroke unless it is treated immediately. If you suspect your animal is suffering from heatstroke do not hesitate in seeking medical attention. Heatstroke can cause irreversible cell damage to animals that can quickly result in death. Symptoms are:
- Pet distress
- Excessive panting
- Copious volumes of saliva
- Bright red or bluish purple gums
Use your intuition, and trust your inner-voice. If your animal does not seem right, seek help.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, three cats, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy, she simply adores animals and pets.