Summer can be a lot of fun, and the hot weather can be a great time to spend outdoors at the beach or simply poolside next to the backyard BBQ with families and friends. The hot weather, however, can be disastrous for our pets so it is crucial that we take every step to ensure our pet’s health and well being is not compromised during the hotter months. Did you know that dogs don’t sweat like humans do, and for some breeds with shorter noses (like pugs and boxers), the heat can quickly become deadly if not managed correctly.
We know how much your best mate means to you, so to help you look after your pet this summer, we have listed some simple steps below and created a downloadable cheat sheet for you to print at home to help everyone have a great time this season.
Ensure your pet has plenty of clean water and shade to escape the heat
We know it sounds obvious, but it really can be the difference between life and death for our pets. Your pet must have access to fresh, clean drinking water 365 days a year, and during the hotter months, this could not be more important. During summer, when the temperatures rise, pets can easily become dehydrated. Be sure to look out for dry nose and gums, no skin elasticity, panting, and lethargy as these can all be signs of dehydration. If you think your pet may be suffering from the heat, please contact your local vet without delay.
Does your pet have access to adequate shade throughout the day? The summer sun can heat up quickly, and even in the morning, temperatures can quickly soar. It is critical that outside pets have the opportunity to keep cool under shade to avoid direct sunlight. Even if your pet enjoys soaking up the summer sun, remember that it doesn’t take long for a pet to experience heat stroke or worse. Be careful of where the shade moves throughout the day, and check that your pet always has cover no matter the time of day.
Older pets especially can suffer from the heat quickly. Consider bringing your pet inside during those really hot days. If we want to escape the heat by staying inside, your pet probably wants to too! Being inside near a cool fan or air conditioner can make a world of difference for our pets who needs extra care. If your pet must be outside, giving your pet an icy treat or a sprinkler or shell pool will help keep them cool.
Don’t forget the pocket pets! Pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets really don’t do well when the temperatures rise. Assist our smaller companions by bringing them inside and providing iced water and frozen water bottles for them to sit near. If your companion seems to be suffering from heat in any way please seek medical attention as soon as possible.
NEVER ever leave your pet in the car. Ever!
Every year, the same message seems to be on repeat and yet for some, the message still is not getting through. It literally can take just minutes for your pet to become dangerously unwell if left alone in a vehicle with reports of deaths happening every year by unknowing pet owners who just don’t understand the risk.
We understand that many pets LOVE going for car rides. It might mean a trip to their favourite park – or even the beach! During the summer months, we recommend leaving your pet at home if there is a chance they may need to be left alone in the car, even if just for a moment. It just is not worth the risk.
Watch out for that burn!
Did you know that pets can get sunburn, just like we do? Pets with short or lighter coats are more susceptible to burns which can lead to skin cancers and other health complications. Talk to your vet about pet-appropriate sunscreen, especially for pets with pink noses and ears. Most large pet retailers have a great range of pet sunscreens to choose from too!
The best thing about daylight savings is that we can walk our pets early in the morning, or in the evening when it is cooler (and safer) for our pets. If you’re not sure if it is safe to take the dog for a walk, simply press the back of your hand against concrete or asphalt. If you can not leave your hand there for 5 seconds or longer, neither can your dog.
Keep your pets away from snakes
Australia is home to some of the best, and deadliest, snakes in the world. The summer season can increase snake activity and for some areas, it can be common for snake sightings during the hotter months. Some of our pets can be very curious which can be fatal if bitten. Respect snakes by doing everything you can to keep your pets away. Snakes like to hide, especially in long grass and shrubs, so try to keep the lawn maintained and the pets away from bushland where possible.
If you live in a snake-prone area, it may be an idea to keep some pets inside. If you find a dead snake, there is a high chance your pet may have been bitten so contact your local vet as soon as possible. For smaller animals especially, snake bites can be fatal and bites may not be detectable by sight if the puncture wounds are minute. Eastern Brown snakes are extremely venomous to many pets so it is crucial you get to a vet immediately if you suspect your pet has been bitten by one.
Pets that are Brachycephalic (short-snout) have an even harder time in summer trying to cool down. For some breeds, it can be harder for them to breathe, and panting to cool down may not be as effective as other breeds. This alone can result in these pets suffering from heatstroke, overheating and other life-threatening issues quickly during the summer months.
If you own a breed that is impacted by their ability to breathe, be sure to consult your local vet on ways to manage their heat stress during the hotter months. Keeping a vigil eye on them could save their life.
Tick paralysis is a serious and potentially fatal condition that requires urgent veterinary attention. Ensure you are aware if you live in or are visiting a paralysis tick prone area – You can do this by calling a veterinary clinic in the area and asking if they frequently see tick paralysis. Make sure your pet is treated routinely with parasite prevention products of veterinary grade – although no product can guarantee 100% protection. Ask your vet for their recommendation.
If you believe your animal has been affected by a tick and is presenting any of these symptoms:- becoming uninterested in food, lethargic, unsteady, weak and excessively drooling then seek veterinary attention immediately.
When you are living in or are visiting a paralysis tick area, you should perform regular tick searches – even if you are using tick preventative products. This can be completed by thoroughly searching your pet using your fingertips to feel through your animal’s coat. Ticks can present as a lump on the surface of the skin. Start at your animal’s nose and work your way to the tip of the tail examining every part of the body. Be sure to search in warm, dark places like nostrils, gums, in-between toes, armpits and under the tail as these can be popular areas for ticks to hide.
If you have found a tick, contact your local vet as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can remove the tick IF you can remove the tick entirely including the head, by using tweezers or specifically designed tick remover (available from some vets and pet stores), this will stop the toxin from continuing to spread. Keep the tick and take it to the veterinary clinic with you, so the treating veterinarian can confirm if it is a paralysis tick. Do not delay going to the vet!