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  • Writer's pictureDr Tara Morris

How to Keep Pets Safe in Summer

Here are six ways to ensure your pet is kept safe during our Aussie summer.

Never leave your pet in a car

Leaving your pet inside the car can be dangerous, even on cooler days. The temperature inside a vehicle can be 30-40 degrees hotter than outside, and leaving a window open or leaving the air conditioner on will do little to nothing to help your pet’s chances of survival.

Dogs cannot regulate their body temperature and will try to cool themselves down with excessive panting, which, if they cannot access water, can lead to dehydration or heatstroke. Symptoms of distress from overheating can also include drooling, restlessness, vomiting, and in extreme cases, seizures.

Hot pavement and paws

Playing outside in the summer sun means that paws will encounter hot surfaces like pavement and stones. The temperature of the ground is significantly hotter than the temperature of the air. It absorbs heat quickly, putting your pets paws at risk of blistering.

If you’re unsure whether the ground is too hot for your dog, place your hand on the ground for five to seven seconds. If it is too hot for you to keep your hand on the ground, then chances are it is too hot for your dog’s delicate paws. To treat already damaged paw pads from heat exposure, place a cool and damp towel under your pet’s feet and apply ointment to the affected area to soothe and repair. If your pet’s symptoms worsen, please visit your local vet. Change your daily walk time

On particularly hot days, take your dog for a walk in the morning or evening, and if you must walk in the middle of the day, make sure to look for a shady, grassy area. The biggest risk to heatstroke is your pet’s immediate environment, so be mindful to avoid your pet overheating. Where possible, bring a water bowl for your pet in case they appear thirsty or dehydrated on your daily walk.

Creating a haven at home

It is important to create a safe space at home for your beloved pet, ensuring they have access to water and providing shaded areas for their comfort. Remember to keep refilling all water bowls, as your dog will be more parched than usual. If you are feeling hot and bothered, your pet will be feeling warmer with their heavy coat of fur.

Cooling toys are an excellent distraction for dogs in summer, fill them with water and freeze them overnight to provide your dog with hours of entertainment. Or, try investing in a blow-up pool for your pet to cool down in the backyard.

Pet sunscreen

A huge myth amongst pet owners is that our pets can’t get sunburnt, but this is incorrect. Our beloved furry friends, particularly breeds with shorter coats, are prone to sun damage like the rest of us.

Sunscreens can be applied to your pet by first testing out a small area on the body to test for reactions and then generously applying to areas least covered in fur. After applying the sunscreen, supervise your pet for a couple of minutes so the cream can be absorbed without being licked away.

Supervision when swimming

Whether it be at the beach or your backyard pool, many dogs love to cool themselves down by having a quick dip. While this may be beneficial, keeping an eye on your pets in case they get into any water-related trouble is essential.

In the summer sun, your dog may be overheating without realising it, which can lead to dehydration and exhaustion. Exhaustion is dangerous, and your pet may struggle to stay afloat and swim with ease. Keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort and vomiting at the beach, which may be signs of drinking unwanted seawater.


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