You wouldn’t wear a fur coat in summer, so don’t let your pets either.

Summer can be a fun time for pets, running in the surf and playing fetch, but owners need to remember that summer comes with sweltering heats and animals can come down with heat-related illnesses.

Vets receive calls from concerned pet owners over the summer holidays, when they see animals become lethargic, have excessive panting or breathing problems.

Australia’s summer heatwaves are lasting longer and have been increasing in number over the past 60 years, a recent study conducted by Dr Sarah Perkins from the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales reported.

The Australian Veterinary Association Dr David Neck says pets cool themselves through the pads of their feet and tongues. They need to pant to regulate their temperature, and dogs and cats with long hair can be more susceptible to the effects of heat.

“It’s important to take your pet to your local vet if they are displaying any of the symptoms of heat stroke including heavy panting and difficulty breathing.

“The main thing is to watch your pets carefully on hot days and give them extra care to help them safely enjoy summer,” he says.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has provided some practical tips to help keep your pets cool over the hotter months:

• If you own a long haired dog, consider giving them a trim to help them cope better with the hotter summer months.
• Cool, fresh water should be available at all times in a shady area.
• Multiple bowls of cool water in the shade will ensure there is plenty of water, in case they drink it all or if a bowl is tipped over.
• Older pets are more susceptible to the heat, particularly if they have problems with their breathing- keep an extra eye on them.
• Dogs love to sit in the sun, but this can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and can cause skin cancers so it’s important to provide them with a shaded area.
• If your pet loves the water- why not set up a small paddling pool for them to play or lay in to cool off? Or take them to the beach or lake?
• Toss a few ice cubes in your pets water bowl to keep their temperature down and provide some relief on a hot day.
• If you don’t have air conditioning think about leaving a fan on during those really hot days.
• Exercise your dog in the early morning or the late evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
• Consider putting some treats in the freezer. These can be given to your pet as a pet popsicle on really hot days. They’ll help cool your pet down and give them something to do when you’re out.


What do you do to keep your pets cool in summer?