Surviving the summer

With temperatures rising and summer currently jumping upon us, we need to know what we can do to help our pets deal with the heat.

Dehydration is one of the biggest concerns for our pets during summer. Access to fresh water is so important. It is best to place your dogs water bowl in a place where it will be out of direct sulight throughout the entire day.  Its even more preferable to provide your pet with multiple water bowls in different locations so that you will always give your pet access to water out of direct sunlight as well as a backup source if one is tipped over or has been drunk.

Please be cautious using pet drinking fountains. The water left sitting in a hose can exceed temperatures of 140° and can possibly injure your pet if it gets a spray of that water straight into it’s face. Automatic water bowls also should be used with caution. If not maintained and checked daily you could risk your pet having no water if something breaks, as people tend to rely on the ‘automatic’ function.

A dog panting is completely normal as they do so to cool themselves down, however you need to recognise the signs of excessive panting. This could be cause for concern and indicate possible dehydration. These symptoms include

  • Pets saliva being thick and sticky
  • Tounge is bright red
  • Extremely dry nose and/or gums
  • Lethargy

Misting systems, an undercover tiled area, cooling mats, Paddling pool to cool off feet and bringing your pets inside are other ways you can help your pet beat the heat.

Walking your dog on those hot summer days should be limited to early mornings or late evenings. Not only can your pet get sunburnt, the hot pavement can burn your pets paws. If unsure if it’s too hot, place your hand against the pavement. If you can’t hold your hand there for at least 5 seconds it is too hot!

Different size dogs and breeds handle the heat differently and some might tolerate higher temperatures but a general rule of thumb is as follows…

Let’s talk animals left in cars. Please don’t ever leave your pets in a car. During the hot summer days temperatures can soar and it can take just minutes for your pet to suffer from heat exhaustion and lead to death. If you ever see a pet locked in a car please be cautious. As tempting as it is to break a window to rescue the pet, you could face charges for the damages. It is best to stay by the car and call the NRMA who will make it priority 1 and come out immediately and handle the situation safely.

Keeping your horses and livestock cool during these times may not be as easy but by providing them adequate water and shelter will help. Good quality food is also important. When food is digested it causes heat production which will contribute to the animal’s heat load, so it is important to provide animals with high quality feed to maintain nutrient intake without the excessive heat production. Feed early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are not as high.

Another fun thing to come with soaring temperatures is snakes. Protecting your pets from snakes is highly important. Keeping your yard and fence line tidy and limiting places where snakes can hide is vital. Keep your grass mowed and bushes pruned. If you live in an area where snakes are common it is best to invest in snake proof fencing to help keep them out of your yard.

If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake, keep them as calm and quiet as possible and take them to a vet immediately. The chance of recovery is much greater if treated early. If your vet is some distance away you can apply a firm bandage over and around the bite site to apply pressure and help slow the venom spreading to the heart. Do NOT wash the wound. If you are able to identify the type of snake, this will assist your vet so they can administer anti venom.

And lastly let’s look after our local wildlife as well. By leaving out water for them. Bird baths and buckets of water could be the difference in saving their life in the event of a fire or extreme temperatures. Putting a stick in the water also can help smaller animals out of the water if they fall in.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you with your pets this summer. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

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