Pets often need extra care and attention over the hot summer months in Australia.
Here are some factors to take into consideration to ensure your pets stay healthy and happy in the summertime.
Summer can be a great time to bond with your furry friends, with plenty of opportunities to get outside and play.
But the scorching heat of the Australian sun can mean that your pets are at higher risk of injury, infection or heatstroke.
Pets don’t sweat to cool down like humans do, so they can quickly become overheated.
Warmer weather also brings out insects that can pose health risks to your animals.
To avoid these problems, here are some pet safety tips for summer.
Ensure constant access to water and shade
Too many dogs and cats dehydrate in summer each year.
Do you know the signs of dehydration?
Look out for:
- Dry gums;
- Excessive drooling;
- Sunken eyes;
- Loss of skin elasticity;
- Loss of appetite;
- Lethargy; and
- Dry nose.
To combat dehydration in pets, make sure they have constant access to fresh, clean water.
In the case of dogs, bring a bottle for them when going for a walk.
While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, they can quickly overheat if they cannot hide in a shady spot.
If your pets live outdoors, make sure your backyard offers them a shady place to hide out, observing that there is always shade available as the sun moves.
For indoor pets, you need to think about their comfort while you aren’t in the house and running the air conditioning.
Keep your pets cool indoors by installing blackout blinds to keep the house cool while you’re out.
Keep your pets out of the car
Never ever leave your pets in the car alone, no matter how quick you think you’re going to be. It’s just not worth the risk.
A vehicle left in the sun on a 35°C day can heat up to a devastatingly hot 45°C in just 10 minutes.
In that time, your pet could develop heatstroke if trapped inside.
If you can’t take your pet when you leave the car, don’t bring them along for the ride in the first place.
Don’t shave your pet
You might think taking off their fur coat is a good deed but shaving your dog or cat for the summer can actually end up doing more harm than good.
Your pet’s coat is naturally designed to insulate against the heat, helping to keep them to keep cool during the summer.
You can (and should) trim your pet’s fur if it grows too long, but never shave it off.
In many cases, pet grooming is best left to the professionals.
Try contacting a local service such as Jim’s Dog Wash.
Apply pet-friendly sunscreen
Yes, that’s right, your pets can get sunburnt too, especially sun-loving dogs with short hair or light-coloured fur.
Like people, pets can develop sunburn, which can eventually lead to them developing skin cancer.
If your fur baby spends a lot of time in the sun, apply sunscreen specifically designed for pets every three to four hours to their nose, belly and ears.
No walks in the middle of the day
If you are a dog walker, keep walks to the cooler hours of the day.
Only take your dog out for exercise in the early morning or late evening, and always take water for your pup to ensure that they don’t get dehydrated.
No time to walk?
Consider outsourcing the daily walk to a professional dog walker.
Keep those paws cool
Many pet owners don’t consider the safety of their pet’s paws during the heat of summer, which is understandable considering that, as humans, we usually wear shoes outdoors.
But your pet doesn’t have that advantage, and this can lead to burnt paws on hot days.
Dogs are especially susceptible when out on a walk, so try to keep your dog off hot asphalt and concrete when you’re out and about.
At home, take care to ensure your pet’s paws are safe from hot surfaces.
If your backyard doesn’t have any grassy areas, consider laying down some old carpet to help keep your pet’s paws safe.
Watch out for parasites
Warm weather often brings out fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other parasites.
Not only can these parasites bite, causing your pet severe irritation, but these pests can carry tapeworms, heartworms, and serious diseases such as Lyme or Bartonella – all of which can put your pet in grave danger.
Ensure you are taking appropriate measures to keep your pet safe and pest-free.
Swimming pool safety
Pets of all sorts are attracted to swimming pools.
Dogs love to jump in after lost balls and toys, and cats are often found sneaking a quick drink.
While your pet may enjoy being poolside, just remember that not all pets are natural swimmers.
You should also consider that even pets who can swim might not be able to get out of the pool if they fall or jump in, especially in pools with ladders instead of stairs.
Your best safeguard to protect your pets from drowning is by installing pet-proof pool fencing.
Make sure your pet cannot squeeze between any gaps or spaces.
Regularly check for any holes or tunnels your pet might have dug around the fence and ensure that any tables and chairs are stored away from the fence to keep your pet from jumping over the top.
Contact Jim’s Fencing for advice about fencing options for your backyard swimming pool.
Keep your windows screened
When the day (finally!) cools off, there’s nothing nicer than throwing open the doors and windows to let in a breeze.
But the last thing you want is your pet jumping through the open windows!
Keep your pet safe at home by screening your windows and doors with pet-safe screening so you can all benefit safely from natural ventilation without compromising on safety.
Guard the garden
If you are an avid gardener, you’ll likely spend time improving your garden during the warmer months.
But you’ll need to be careful that any plant foods, insecticides or fertilisers that you use are either pet-safe or kept away from your furry friends, making sure to keep your pet away from these chemicals when they are applied to the garden.
Your summer flowering plants could also cause some concern for curious pets, with plants such as azaleas, bleeding heart, buttercups, daffodils, heliotropes and oleanders toxic to pets.
If you choose to have these plants in your garden, keep them separate from your pet by either constantly supervising their outdoor time or installing pet runs in safe areas.
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