Brisbane is heating up and your pets need help. Here’s how to keep them cool and safe while the sun is shining.

The heat is on in Brisbane while we humans can go to extremes to keep ourselves cool, our poor pets do not have the same luxury.

Our fury and feathered friends are highly susceptible to heatstroke when the temperature starts to rise, so it is important to take preventative measures.Heatstroke is an extreme state of hyperthermia resulting in thermal injury to tissues. It occurs from a fever induced by high environmental temperatures. So, when temperatures which animals are exposed to get too hot or humid they cannot effectively cool themselves.

Whether your pet is furry, feathery or scaly we have gathered some simple ways to keep your friends cool when the mercury is rising.

Dogs

Dogs do not sweat, they are able to cool themselves through panting, lying on a cool surface and drinking chilled water. However in extreme weather these techniques may not be as effective.

Our best tips: Ensure that your dog has access to enough water, it is ideal to leave at least two water bowls out in case of spillage. You can even add ice cubes to cool the water if necessary. If your dog is kept mainly outside make sure they have enough access to shade all day long, be vigilant about this because sun does move during the day. A doghouse is not ideal during summer days as they can turn into a ‘hotbox’ under the sun. If it is possible bring your mate inside when it gets really hot.

Other ideas include letting your dog go for a swim or giving it a bubble bath in lukewarm water. Frozen treats are also a great way too cool and hydrate your friends on those simmering days. And finally do not forget to slip slop slap your dog with approved dog sunscreen. Dogs with thin hair and white coloured ears or noses are susceptible to skin cancers and can easily get sunburnt so make sure they are sun safe this summer.

Cats

Similar to dogs, cats also cool through panting as well as getting relief from grooming and licking their coats. They will generally find a place to nap and keep themselves cool however, they can suffer heat stroke too. We all know cats will decide what they want and don’t want to do but providing them with cooler options is a good way to provide support for your feline.

Our best tips: Leave a fan on indoors and put down some wet towels or pillow cases with ice packs inside to provide relief from the heat if needed. Just like dogs, make sure your cat has an extra bowl of water handy.

If you notice your cat is getting to hot, you can cool them down by wiping them over with a damp cloth. But make sure it is not ice cold as this will shock their systems.If your cat is not afraid of water, they can be cooled down by filling a sink with water to paw level and allowing your cat to stand in it.

And finally, make sure if your cat has light pigmentation that you give them a good coat of approved sunscreen.

Guinea Pigs

Small animals including Guinea pigs are often forgotten when talking about heat stroke, but they indeed are at high risk as well.

Our best tips: Make sure their cage is in a shaded and well ventilated area all day- remember they cannot move their cages themselves, they are relying on you! Also make sure that they have enough water during the heat. A great way to cool down your guinea pig is to provide them with frozen treats.

Cut up summer fruits such as water melon, apple or strawberries and place them in an ice cube tray with water. Along the same lines, ice cushions can be made out of a zip lock plastic bag filled with crushed ice and covered with a towel- this way they have a cool place to lie if they feel the need.

Birds

Birds cool by holding their wings out from their body and rapid breathing with their mouths open. The featherless area under a birds wing is what allows a bird to cool themselves. If your bird is showing signs of heat stroke, a spray of water to this area or a spong on its wings and feet is ideal.

Our best tips: As with guinea pigs make sure your birds cage is in a shaded area with good ventilation, when it gets really hot, and if the cage is small enough, bring your bird inside. You can also mist them with a cool spray several times a day. Furthermore, a fan near their cage but not blowing directly on your bird will also help. Feeding birds hydrating foods such as grapes and watermelon is also ideal.

Fish

Unusual? Yes, but water heats up as well. Ideally a goldfish tank should be no higher than 28 degrees. However the water temperature needs to be changed gradually as to not shock fish.

Our best tips: To cool water try letting a fan blow across the surface of the water. If this doesn’t cool it enough you can freeze some water and place it in the tank near the filter. However make sure you the pH is the same level as the tank water before adding the ice and double check what water temperature is ideal for your breed of fish.

Take your pet to the vet immediately if you are worried about them, as heatstroke can be deadly.

How do you protect your pets from the heat?