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Warning to Australia's Pet Owners as Temperatures Set to Soar

06 November 2014
Australian Veterinary Association

AUSTRALIA - With temperatures expected to soar across many parts of Australia later this week, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is providing some practical tips to keep your pets cool.

“Pets are just as susceptible to heat-related illness as humans,” said Dr David Neck from the AVA.

According to NOAA, data for last month show it was the warmest September on record globally and that 2014 is set to be the new warmest year on record.

“Vets receive numerous calls from concerned pet owners during heatwaves after seeing worrying signs like lethargy, excessive panting or breathing problems. But there are simple tips that can help to prevent or minimise problems.

“Not only can heat threats occur in parked cars, they can also happen in your own backyard.

“Unlike people, who sweat through skin, pets cool off 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,” he said.

Ten top tips for dogs and cats to beat the heat are:

  • Make sure there is cool, fresh water available at all times. Leave this in a shady area
  • On really hot days it might be worth leaving multiple bowls of cool water in the shade that can’t be tipped over
  • Keep an eye on older pets as they will be more susceptible to the heat, particularly if they have problems with their breathing
  • Dogs love to sit in the sun, but prolonged sun exposure can quickly lead to heat exhaustion and can cause skin cancers so it’s important to provide them with a shaded area
  • One way to provide them with relief from the heat is to fill the kids’ paddling pool with a couple of inches of water and leave this in a shady spot for your dog to sit in
  • Tossing a few ice cubes in your dog or cat’s water bowl can help 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 in the height of summer
  • Try to 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. They 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
  • If you own a long haired dog, consider giving them a trim to help them cope better with the hotter months.

“It’s important to take your pet to the local vet if they are displaying any symptoms of heat stroke such as heavy panting, fatigue, drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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

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