Australian summers can get very hot. It’s very important to look after our pets so that they don’t overheat and stay safe and healthy.
I’ve listed some facts and ideas to help you make sure your dogs and cats stay comfortable and happy.
- Excessive panting and salivation is normal cooling down behavior for dogs and cats. Due to all this panting they need extra water so they don’t get dehydrated.
- Some of the most common risk factors for heat stroke are old age, being overweight, heart disease, over exercising & the simple fact of having black fur. Note also that some breeds with squashed-in faces, like pugs and boxers, are particularly vulnerable to heat stroke because of their small nasal passages that make it harder for them to pant.
- Your pets need access to fresh water all the time. Make sure the water can’t be tipped over and put it somewhere in the shade so it doesn’t get too hot. Change it as often as you can.
- Don’t leave your pet in the car. Cars overheat in no time and leaving your pet (or kid) inside can easily be fatal as their bodies tend to overheat much faster than those of adults' do. Leaving the window open a tiny bit does not help.
- Make sure your pet has access to a shady area or a shelter that is not in direct sunlight. If you can, bring your dog inside in the middle of the day to escape the hottest hours.
- If your pet stays inside in the air conditioning while you’re at work, make sure one of your neighbours who is usually around has a key. Talk about what has to be done in case there is a power outage or a fire alert.
- Regular fans are very popular with pets too. Although they are generally safe for little paws, your kittens may need surveillance as some very adventurous ones may want to try to poke the fan from the back.
- Don’t let your pet run or exercise in the heat. If your pet is desperate for exercise despite the heat, switch the sprinkler on for a couple of minutes or get one of these plastic toddler pools and fill it with 2-3cm of water for some cooling fun. Don’t forget to change the pool water regularly and use a small (safe) amount of water only.
- Ice cubes or crushed ice can make good outdoor toys. Fill a little bucket to play with, put some in the water bowl or in the toddler pool, etc.
- Make sure your dog can’t get into your regular pool while you’re not there to supervise.
- Comb / brush your pet daily and spoil them with extra bath time if they enjoy that.
- Try to only walk your pet early in the morning or in the evening. Be aware that your pet has very sensitive paws and they can get burnt on asphalt or sand in the middle of the day.
- If you take your pet outside during the day, don’t forget that your pet can get sun burnt. Noses and ear tips are very vulnerable and could do with some pet sun screen. Some pets will do anything to get the sun screen off and I can’t see a hat being a good alternative.
- There’s a good choice of pet cooling products available, such as cooling vests, water beds, bandanas and much more. Your pet needs to be cooperative for them to be used successfully but it may be worth having a look at your local pet shop. Cheap DIY replacement products can be wet towels, wrapped ice packs etc.
If you have a pet related summer tip that you want to share with our Easy House Sitting Members, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoping you and your loved ones can all stay cool enough this summer.