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Keep your pets cool over summer

Daniel Bouwmeester    December 15, 2023    3 min read   

Cool pets have cool owners – so, as the weather heats up, help your furry friends stay cool with the following information courtesy of the RSPCA.

Emma Lagoon, spokesperson for RSPCA Queensland, said water and shade are the biggest things to remember this season.

“Chances are if you feel hot, so does your pet,” Emma said.

“Ensuring that all of your pets have access to shade throughout the day and fresh water is vital and should be your first priority for their welfare.”

Owners should be mindful of the movement of the sun to ensure plenty of shade is accessible no matter the time of day.

This important advice applies to all animals – birds, guinea pigs, fish, chooks, horses, cattle, sheep, and goats – not just household dogs or cats.

The RSPCA warns that dogs should never be left outside on a tether during the summer months, and relying on a kennel for shade is inadequate.

“Simply having a dog kennel is not enough. This is just like having an oven – no pet wants to sit inside that!”

“Always have more than one water source available for your dog in case they knock over a bowl. Paddling pools left in a shady spot are also great for dogs that like to cool off in the water.”

If there is a heatwave forecast, try to keep your pet indoors in a well-ventilated area, Emma said. You can even leave out frozen treats on especially hot days, and cooling mats – or a simple wet towel – are great ideas too.

“If you notice your cat panting or salivating, they may be suffering heat stress. Not all cats are fond of water, so use damp towels to cool them down instead of trying to wet them in a bath.

“If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, contact your vet immediately.”

Wildlife will also need a helping hand from time to time, Emma explained.

“Let’s not forget that our native animals will be seeking shade and water, too… Place sources of water at varying heights in your backyard.”

The RSPCA’s Top Tips for Keeping Pets Cool:

  • Provide ample shade for your pets in the backyard and multiple water sources;
  • Never leave pets tethered in backyards – they can get tangled, leaving them unable to reach water and shade;
  • Keep pet playtime and daily walks to early morning and late afternoon. Avoid hot bitumen for doggy paw pads;
  • Make sure dogs in utes have shade, water, and can’t burn their feet on hot trays;
  • Never leave pets unattended in cars – cars turn into ovens within a matter of minutes;
  • Keep a careful eye on brachycephalic (‘flat face’) breeds, as they are prone to overheating;
  • Move small pet enclosures for birds, guinea pigs, and fish out of the direct sun;
  • Make sure your livestock, hens, and horses all have shade and water too;
  • You can also leave out containers of water to help native wildlife.

If you see an animal in distress, contact the RSPCA’s 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

See also: Myths and facts about pet snacks

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Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.