16 Jan
  • Posted by Marthena Smith

Keeping your pet cool during summer

It's so important to make sure you're all prepared during hot weather to care for companion animals, livestock and even wildlife. Read our tips to make sure your pets and other animals stay cool and calm during summer.

1. Keep them cool

All pets must be kept in cool, shady areas. It is ideal to bring pets indoors on hot days. If you're feeling warm, chances are they are too.

Short-nosed or flat faced dogs breeds are also more susceptible to heat stroke e.g. Pugs, English bulldogs, French bulldogs.

Find out more about how to prevent heat stroke here.

2. Little ones need care too

Small pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, are particularly susceptible to heat. Please bring these animals indoors during hot weather. If allowed a free run in a laundry or bathroom, they will benefit from the cool tiles. If this is not possible, drape their cage with wet towels and provide a sturdy icepack or frozen water bottle for the animal to lean against so it can to regulate its own body temperature. Make sure the animals' enclosures are out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun as the shade moves throughout the day.

3. Water water water!



Provide plenty of fresh, cool water in large water containers. Be sure to provide numerous sources of water in case one is spilt. Ensure the containers are in the shade and add some ice to the water to keep it cool.

4. Take a dip

Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool. If your pet's share your yard with children, remember to have all the necessary precautions in place, including fencing, in order to keep children safe.

5. Watch when you walk

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Walking your dog when the ground is too hot can cause serious damage to their paws. Instead, walk your dog in the coolness of the early morning or evening. If you're unsure if its cool enough, press your hand to the pavement for 5 seconds. If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dogs paws.  

It can also be a good idea to take your pet to your local beach, creek or river to let them have a paddle and cool down. This will help your pet avoid possible dehydration, sunburn and potentially painful paws and it will help you and your pet enjoy the walk more.

6. Keep them comfortable

If your pet seems to be in discomfort, try wetting their feet and misting water onto their face. This is an option for dogs, cats, ferrets, poultry and caged birds as many animals control their inner temperature through their feet. It' s important not to saturate a bird's feathers as this can cause them to go into shock.

7. Prepare your livestock and horses

Make sure your horses and livestock have access to shade and provide extra water during hot weather

Click for more important tips on caring for horses and livestock during summer and drought conditions.

8. Animals in hot cars

NEVER leave your pet in the car in warm weather. It takes only minutes for an animal to suffer an agonising death if left in a hot car. 

If you see an animal locked in a hot car, immediately phone police on 000Learn more here.

9. Take care of wildlife too
Leave small bowls of water in your garden so wildlife can keep cool.

Click to learn what to do if you come across heat-stressed wildlife.

10. Watch out for snakes

Snakes become more active in the warmer months. Click to learn how to protect your pets from snakes, and what to do if you think your pet has been bitten.

11. Protect those snoots

Little pink noses are cute, but can easily become sunburnt. Your fair-skinned pet needs a special sunscreen for animals to protect it from the discomfort of sunburn and the added risk of skin cancer, so don’t forget that ‘slip, slop, slap’ doesn’t just apply to people.

12. Pesky little pests

The warmer months are a prime time for fleas and ticks, with itches and bites adding to the discomfort heat can cause your pets. Ensure your pet is kept up to date with treatments to keep the itchiness at bay. If you need further information on the treatments available contact the RSPCA Veterinary Clinic or your local vet.

13. Watch for toxic plants

Many common household plants can be toxic to animals if ingested, including some beautiful summer bulbs. 

Lilies are known to be one of the more dangerous plants and are particularly toxic for cats, so if you own a feline it’s best to steer clear from them altogether. Other summer plants to avoid include Gladiolas, Hydrangea and Ivy. 

Signs your pet might have eaten a poisonous plant can include vomiting, lethargy, drooling and seizures. When taking your pet to the vet with suspected poisoning, it is a good idea to also take any material involved, such as chewed-up plant matter, so your vet has a better idea of what they’re treating.

Learn about 42 plants that are toxic to cats.

14. Fireworks and thunderstorms

The loud noises associated with fireworks or summer thunderstorm season is one of the most prevalent phobias in animals, and result in tens of thousands of them demonstrating destructive behaviour, escaping from their properties and injuring themselves.

Read important tips about keeping your pets safe during thunderstorms and fireworks.

15. Don't shave double coated dogs

You may think you're doing your dog a kindness by shaving their hair to cool them down. However double coats are designed to keep dogs warm or cool depending on the weather. Dogs naturally shed their undercoat during summer, allowing their skin to remain cool. If shaved, growing back this undercoat can make dogs even hotter. Their top coat also vitally prevents sunburn.  

Shaving double coated dogs can also permanently change their coat, often losing its soft smooth texture. While grooming is important all year round, double coated dogs don't need to be shaved in any weather.

16. Plan now for emergencies

With hot weather comes the increased risk of fires. Be prepared and plan early to ensure you will be able to safely evacuate your pets in the event of an emergency. Click to learn more about emergency planning for your pets.

For information on how to plan and prepare for the safety of your pets in a bush fire visit the CFA site.
Resource Acknowledgement:
This article has been resourced through RSPCA Victoria's


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