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Don’t let pets overheat

RSPCA COLUMNBusselton Dunsborough Times
Pets should always have access to fresh, clean water – especially on a hot summer day.
Camera IconPets should always have access to fresh, clean water – especially on a hot summer day. Credit: Supplied

The South West has entered its hottest months of the year, with the RSPCA offering some handy tips to keep your pets happy and healthy.

The hottest months of the year — December, January, and February — typically bring a rise in calls to RSPCA WA’s Cruelty Hotline, with reports last summer rising 15 per cent compared to the three months of spring.

Reportedly, many animals are left without water, shade, or proper ventilation on hot summer days, placing them at a high risk of heatstroke. Flat-faced dogs such as pugs, older animals and overweight pets are at a much higher risk of heatstroke.

RSPCA South West inspector Genna Haines said she often saw horses suffer during summer.

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“During spring, when nights are cool and days are warmer, I regularly see horses being over-rugged,” she said.

“Just last week I attended a job where several horses were wearing lined canvas rugs in 30C heat.

“They would’ve certainly been overheating, and I directed the owner to remove the rugs straight away.”

Ms Haines said if owners were still placing rugs on their horses in these hotter months, it was important to check them regularly, as well as all other pets.

So how can you better protect your animals this summer?

Beat the heat

Always make sure to have a fresh water supply in a shady spot, to keep your pet hydrated. It’s a good idea to provide multiple bowls or buckets, in case one gets spilt. If it is cooler inside your house, consider bringing your pet indoors, or giving them access to a cooler area like the laundry. A shell pool in the shade is another idea to keep your pooch comfortable.

Protect their paws

The afternoon is the hottest part of the day, so walk your furry friend in the morning or early evening. Always check the pavement before going for a walk. If you can’t hold your hand on the ground for five seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

Dogs die in hot cars

Never leave your animal alone in your car on a hot day. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly rise to double the outside temperature. Dogs in these conditions can suffer an agonising death within just six minutes.

If your dog is travelling on the back of a ute, access to shade, and a mat are essential to stop their paws burning.

Remember the little guys

Be mindful of smaller pets such as rabbits, ferrets and birds –— they are very heat-sensitive.

In hot weather, smaller animals should be brought indoors.

Know the signs

Signs of heatstroke can vary between individual animals.

Common signs include rapid panting, excessive drooling, red or pale gums, bright red tongue, vomiting, collapsing, diarrhoea, lethargy and unco-ordinated movement. Move them to a cool, shaded area and call the vet.

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