As the mercury rises, it’s important that pet owners pay extra attention to their beloved pets to ensure their animals stay healthy throughout hot days.
Dr Bronwen Harper from Pets on Elgar Veterinary Clinic and Veterinary Nurse Training Centre says there’s a lot that people can do to keep pets, livestock and wildlife cool during extreme heat.
Dr Harper says by following these basic tips you can help your animals stay more comfortable and avoid dangerous heat-stress.
1. Keep the sun off
Provide shade for pets and livestock. Move pets inside if possible and if you have air con – even better.
2. Provide water
Make sure pets and livestock have plenty of access to cool fresh clean water. You can add some ice to keep it cool. If your pet likes to tip water bowls over, make sure you’ve got more than one bowl of water so they don’t dehydrate if one spills.
3. Be extra careful
Young and old animals are extra vulnerable to heat stress. Take extra care to keep them cool and hydrated.
4. Guinea pigs, rabbits, chooks and other birds
Are all very susceptible to heat stress – don’t forget about them in the hot weather. Provide shade, bring inside if possible and make sure they’ve got plenty of water.
If you’re taking your dog out for exercise make sure you avoid the hottest parts of the day and go for early morning or evening walks instead, and don’t overdo it.
6. Cool off
If your dog likes a paddle consider taking them somewhere they can cool off in a creek, river, pond or beach. Small plastic kids wading pools are a good option and can provide heaps of cool entertainment for dogs.
7. Hot cars kill
Never, ever leave your pet in a warm car, even for short periods of time.
8. Think about the wildlife
Australian wildlife suffer in extreme weather also. Simply placing water in shallow bowls outside for wildlife (out of reach of predators like cats and dogs) will help them survive.
9. Stay observant
Heat stress can be potentially fatal for animals. If there’s any change in the behaviour of your pets – take them to a vet immediately.
Pets on Elgar is a veterinary clinic and training workplace for veterinary nursing and pet grooming students at Box Hill Institute, a leading Victorian vocational and higher education provider.
If you’re interested in a career working with animals, call and speak to a course advisor on 1300 BOX HILL or come to one of the upcoming Box Hill Institute Information and Application evenings. For more information, please go to: www.boxhill.edu.au