Pet Care in the Heat

December 12 2015

As we approach the hot summer months, Wallington’s Pet Supplies wants all our customers to remember the importance of caring for our animal friends in the heat. Pets need to be well hydrated and provided with opportunities to avoid the sun.

Most summer safety tips for animals are pretty common sense, but here’s a basic reminder of the best way to look after your pets in the heat.

Provide ample water – access to plenty of cool water is essential on hot days. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs and move heat out of their body, as they do this they lose water, which must be replaced frequently. Water left outside, even in the shade can heat quickly, so you need to replace it regularly or consider placing your dog bowl within a container with ice.

Offer lots of shade – if you can keep your pet indoors, then this is a simple way to help keep them out of the sun into a regulated temperature. If they must be outside, ensure there is plenty of shade available from outbuildings, trees or tarps. Make sure they always have access to cool water.

Take care with exercise – exercise is always important, but you may need to limit your pet’s exercise on very hot days. Restrict exercise to the early mornings and later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler and UV levels lower. Remember that asphalt and cement can be extremely hot and retain heat, try to walk your dog on the grass or wet sand. Always carry water for rehydration.

Don’t leave pets in a parked car – not even with the window down. The temperature in a parked car rises alarmingly quickly and pets left in cars can suffer heatstroke, brain damage and even death.

Be aware of humidity – in high humidity it is difficult for animals to cool down through panting so their body temperatures can increase more dramatically than in dry heat. You need to find additional ways to keep them cool, such as offering ice or providing air conditioning.

Be watchful for signs of overheating and heatstroke that include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Glazed eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Copious salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Deep red or purple tongue
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

All animals are at risk of heatstroke but, like people, pets that are most vunerable are the very old and the very young, overweight pets and those with existing health issues such as illness, heart or respiratory disease.

If you are worried, make every effort to cool your pet. Take their temperature and contact your vet immediately.

To cool your pet quickly, bring them into a cooler environment, preferably inside or at least into the shade. Apply cool, wet towels especially to the neck and chest or stand them under a tap of cool running water. Rehydrate them with cool water or ice licks.

Wallington’s Pet Supplies stocks a full range of cat and dog bowls as well as water feeders for chooks, birds and small animals.  We also have a great range of travel dog bowls.  These rubber bowls collapse flat for easy transport in your bag and then pop up to provide a sturdy drinking vessel for dogs when they’re out and about.

Our Community Partner, Cherished Pets, offers a mobile veterinary service on the Bellarine for non-urgent cases, and a monthly wellness clinic at Wallington’s on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Contact 0439094379 or email info@cherishedpetcare.com.au