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Canberra
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Keeping your pets cool this weekend

With a heatwave set to hit the Capital, spare a thought for your furry friends! They feel the heat, too, and just like us, can suffer from heatstroke. So, it’s vital that we’re keeping our pets cool this weekend, too.

If your pet enjoys a long walk or a run each day, RSPCA ACT recommends avoiding the hottest parts of the day, and instead save your strolls for the early morning or evening when the day and the ground are cooler.

“Their paws can actually be burnt from cement if we’re not careful!”

RSPCA NSW also recommends keeping an eye on flat-faced dog breeds like pugs and bulldogs as they have greater difficulty regulating heat.

If you like to spoil your pet (who doesn’t?), treat them to an iced delicacy to keep them cool on hot days. Rabbits, dogs and lots of other animals enjoy a cool treat, and you can freeze a water bottle for smaller animals to lie on to help them regulate their body temperatures.

Similarly, swimming can be great for dogs to keep them cool, but make sure your pet enjoys the water.

RSPCA ACT shared a couple of tips to keep your pup happy while splashing about:

  • Remember to check water quality before allowing your pet to swim, as blue-green algae can pose a threat to your pet’s health.
  • Make sure your dog does not swallow too much water while swimming.  
  • Give your pet a wash down after they leave the water.
  • Floatation devices like life vests will help your pet stay afloat.
  • Just like children, always keep a close eye on your pet swimming.

RSPCA ACT says pets also need sun protection to keep them safe from sunburn and heatstroke – yes, your pets can get sunburnt!

“Provide shade and other sun barriers whenever possible to reduce their overall sun exposure.

“Don’t forget the sunscreen! It’s a good idea to use a non-toxic, hypoallergenic sunscreen formulated specifically for use on pets.”

ACT Health have warned Canberrans about the dangers of leaving children and pets in hot cars, and RSPCA ACT has echoed this advice: “It only takes six minutes for an animal to die in a hot car.”

The organisation also recommends checking the back of your ute tray to make sure it’s cool enough for your pet to travel in.

Signs of heatstroke in pets can include excessive panting, weakness, vomiting, lethargy and, eventually, unconsciousness and death.

“Please ensure your pet has access to shade and clean water at all times,” RSPCA ACT says.

“Smaller pocket pets should be brought into cool and shady areas to help escape heat.”

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