As parts of the state rise above 40 degrees Celsius this week, RSPCA NSW is urging all pet owners to keep their pets cool, hydrated and safe.
It is crucial to prepare your pet for the heat to avoid potential heat stress and fatalities this summer.
So what can you do?
We advise pet owners to:
1. Provide access to extra shade areas to protect your pets from the sun. This can be done by Installing shade cloths and umbrellas in your backyard.
2. If possible, bring your pets indoors where there is shade or air-conditioning to provide a cool environment to chill in. Do not under any circumstances leave pets unattended in locked cars, even if you are parked in the shade or have the windows down.
3. Apply pet-friendly zinc to the ears and noses of pets prone to sunburn, including cats and dogs with white fur and pink noses.
4. Ensure access to plenty of fresh water. Fill multiple bowls of water and place them in cool places out of the sun for your pets.
5. Place ice in their bowls to help cool their water sources but check that your pet is comfortable with the change in water temperature.
6. Make ice blocks! Freeze some pet food in a takeaway container with water to make a delicious ice block that will cool and entertain your pet as it defrosts.
7. Avoid exercising dogs in the middle of the day as this can lead to heat stress. Their foot pads can burn on hot surfaces such as cement and sand. Pay attention to flat-faced breeds (brachycephalic) such as Pugs and Bulldogs as they have a greater difficulty regulating heat.
8. Pocket pets, including rabbits and guinea pigs, can benefit from ice bricks wrapped in towels and cooling mats placed in their hutches.
9. Consider providing bird baths for our domesticated and wild feathered friends to frolic and cool off in.
Keep your pets hydrated this summer.
Your pets cannot always cool themselves down, so as a responsible pet owner it’s your job to keep them cool during the hot summer months.
For handy tips on identifying and treating heatstroke that you can refer to on the go, download or print our RSPCA NSW Heatstroke Information sheet.
If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, please contact your closest RSPCA veterinary hospital or your local veterinarian immediately.