There are an estimated 33 million pets in Australia and with summer just around the corner we need to take extra care to keep our pets cool as the temperatures rise. Sadly the RSPCA has received over 1000 calls of pets being left in cars this year already.
Here are some of our top tips to keep your pets safe and well this summer:
- Ensure your pet has access to clean, fresh water at all times.
- Change the water regularly throughout the day.
- Make sure they can't tip their water bowl over.
- Check there is nothing around that your pet could drink that it shouldn't.
TOP TIP: Our Auto Fill Pet Water Bowl is a great way to make sure your pet always has water to drink.
- Don't let pets sit out in the strong sun.
- Cages, runs and hutches should be out of direct sunlight or have an adequate amount of shade cover.
- Fishponds and aquariums can get very hot in the summer - check regularly and make sure the pond has a shaded area.
- Keep one room of your house cool by drawing the curtains and leaving a window open for the breeze. Your dog or cat can then choose to lie down there if it gets too hot else where in the house.
- NEVER leave your pet in a hot car. Not even for a few minutes with the windows open. You may be delayed and temperatures can soar dangerously high in minutes, causing potentially fatal heatstroke.
- Don't leave them in conservatories or caravans either.
- If your pet has long hair, get them trimmed over the summer to prevent them from overheating.
- Walk dogs in the morning or evening - before 8am and after 5pm is best. Not only will this prevent them overheating in the daytime sun, but road surfaces, pavements and sand can burn paws when hot.
- Rabbits are prone to maggot infestations (known as flystrike) in the summer. To prevent this life-threatening condition, check a rabbit's bottom at least twice daily for dirtiness and maggots. If you spot any maggots call your vet as soon as you can. If their bottom is dirty, clean it gently with a damp cloth.
- If you have a small furry pet, such as a hamster or gerbil, put a nearly full plastic bottle of water into your freezer and, when frozen, wrap it in a towel and place by the side of the cage, next to the sleeping area, to keep it cool. It's not a good idea to put the bottle in the cage as it could leak and make the pet too cold.
- Take extra care if transporting pets in hot weather - have the air con on or the windows open, but never let a dog put their head out of the car window.
- Food can go off very quickly in the heat, so discard any leftovers quickly.
- Know the signs of heatstroke - excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and collapse. If this happens, gradually cool your pet's body temperature. You can do this by wrapping them in wet towels (cool, not freezing) that you change frequently, and call your vet for further advice.
- Pets can get sunburnt & develop skin cancer just like humans, you can buy pet sunscreen!
- Raise kennels, cages and hutches off the ground to improve ventilation
- Ask you vet if you should provide a salt lick for your pet.
With a little care and attention, we can ensure our pets have fun and don't suffer in the sunshine. If you would like to share with us any tips you have or things your pet does to stay cool please do so in the comments below.
N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.