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How to help your pets cope with the heat

Jessica Conway

The Canberran crickets are chirping in forceful unison, a clear sign that the hottest part of summer is upon us.

While we can’t ignore our personal need for the air-conditioning to be on full-blast, we can accidentally overlook our furry companions this time of year.

With this weekend set to be a scorcher, now is the time to give thought to how you’ll help your pets cope.

“Our veterinarians will be very concerned about animals exercising or playing in the hotter times of the day as they are susceptible to heat stroke very quickly. Remember, if it’s hot for you, it’s even hotter for your pet,” explains RSPCA ACT CEO Tammy Ven Dange.

And, let’s be honest – cats are pretty good at chilling year-round, but some dogs are non-stop no matter the weather.

So, for all those pet-parents out there here are some top tips to keep fur-babies as cool as cucumbers!

  1. NEVER leave your animal in the car. Six minutes in a car can literally be fatal. Don’t ever do it. In some cases, charges can be laid for animal cruelty.
  2. Watch for signs of heat stroke, especially in animals with those adorable smushy faces. If you have a pug, bulldog, Persian cat or anything similar they are especially at risk as it is more difficult for them to regulate their body temperature and cool down. Heat stroke can be fatal, for more information visit the RSPCA’s page here.
  3. The best belly flop for your pet is on cool surfaces. Tiles are a favourite. You can also lay wet towels in front of a fan. Mmmmm, breezy.
  4. Everything is hotter during the day – this includes the ground. Pets can burn the pads of their feet (ouch!), so look out for metal ute trays or even walking on bitumen, which can result in blisters.
  5. Dogs are people pleasers. If you want to go for a run at noon, they’ll come! If you throw that ball again, they’ll chase it full speed. Pooches are lovely, and kinda dumb, like that. As a pet parent, you need to do the thinking for them avoid heat stroke and dehydration. On really hot days, for the sake of you and your pet, hold off any exercise til dusk or dawn periods.
  6. Put out LOADS of water, and in a shady spot. If you have a bouncy dog, multiple bowls are a good idea in case they knock one over. This is especially true if you have your dog tied up in the yard.
  7. Not all dogs are swimmers. I was surprised to find that mine was not a water baby, but I guess pooch personalities vary as much as ours. If your little one is also water-adverse, a good dampening with a lukewarm face washer is a good alternative.
  8. If you’re inside, bring Fido and Mr Fluffy in too. Just be a big, happy, chill family.

Jessica Conway

Jessica is a logophile. A lover of words. She always has been, childhood friends called her “the human dictionary”. Her passion of reading and writing has never waned, and she is one of the lucky few who makes a living from it. A born and bred Canberran, Jessica worked as a journalist eventually landing in Sydney. Sick of ‘the big smoke’ and eager to return home Jessica now lives in Belconnen, in a Tiny House with her (rescue) dog and cat. Hobbies include collecting square fridge magnets, casual drawing, recreational motorbike riding, haphazard rock climbing, fearless scuba diving, and devouring all things written. More about the Author