Whether you’re going on a road trip or basking in the Australian sun from the comfort of your own home, no matter where pet owners spend their summer, they must consider how to keep their pets safe as temperatures rise.
More than a quarter of Aussie pet owners take their pets on holidays or road trips, and with endless pet-friendly beaches and activities this country has to offer, summer is the perfect time to explore your local surroundings and enjoy time in the great outdoors with your pet.
To ensure all pet parents can enjoy a safe summer with their buddy, PETstock VET Dr Sasha Nefedova has compiled an essential summer survival guide.
Provide plenty of water and shade
Warm weather combined with a limited supply of water or shade can lead to your pet suffering from severe heat stress and dehydration. Keeping your pet comfortable on a hot day, whether you are at home or not, is your responsibility as a pet owner.
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The most common signs of dehydration include loss of skin elasticity, acting flat or lethargic, sunken eyes, excessive panting or even collapse. If you notice any of these signs, take them to your local vet immediately for an examination.
Never leave your pet in the car
Even if it’s just for a ‘quick’ trip to the shops, you must never leave your pet unattended in a car, especially during the warmer months. The temperature inside a car can take as little as one to two minutes to rise from air-conditioned levels to ambient, and seven minutes to reach 40 degrees. Leaving them in a hot car can result in dehydration, heatstroke or even cause death.
If you see another pet owner’s dog in a car and are concerned for its safety, you can call emergency services and explain the situation. If the car is in a public shopping centre or supermarket car park, approach the customer service desk and advise them of the situation along with license plate details so they can make a public announcement on their PA system to alert the owner.
Just like humans, pets too can get sunburnt and there are certain breeds who are more susceptible to the sun and require preventatives such as sunscreen to avoid skin cancer or other sun induced skin diseases. It’s important that owners take pet-friendly sunscreen on all daily walks or trips to the beach during summer and apply regularly to minimise the risk of their pet developing sun-related health issues.
Ensure your pet has access to all day shade and shelter and fresh water daily during all four seasons.
Plan your walks
The best time to take your dog on their daily walk is either early in the morning or late afternoon when the temperature has dropped, unless you have access to body of water or shade that can work to keep your pet cool. If you do walk them during the day, walk on grassed areas and always avoid hot pavement to ensure the heat doesn’t burn your pet’s paw pad. As a rule of thumb, put your hand on the pavement for seven seconds before heading outdoors with your dog. If it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s also too hot for your dogs’ paws.
If you let your dog off the lead remember snakes like to live around rivers and creeks. If you notice your dog come back from a run in tall grass or near a creek looking wobbly, vomiting or just not quite right contact your vet for further advice.
Be prepared by packing essential items such as plenty of fresh water, a bowl, waste bags, sunscreen, and towels.
Keep an eye on your buddy and always be on the lookout for risks such as snakes, fishhooks, or jellyfish. Inquisitive dogs may get bitten, stung or ingest dangerous items. Make sure your dog is always within eyesight (and earshot) so you can catch them before they touch something they shouldn’t.
After a day at the beach, monitor them back home and be aware of any odd behaviour as your buddy could be dehydrated or feeling unwell from ingesting saltwater. Contact your closest vet immediately if you are concerned.
Fire safety plan
During bushfire season and days of high risk where there is an increased chance or erratic winds and hot, dry weather, pet owners need to ensure their pets are safe when facing a possible emergency evacuation.
Important things to include in your pet plan include bedding, food and water, towels and woollen blankets to cover and protect your pets. If you decide to leave early, know where you could house your pet and discuss with neighbours about protecting your pet if you are not at home during a bushfire. For more advice visit the CFA website.
Best Summer Accessories To Keep Your Pets Safe
Cooling toys and accessories
To keep your pooch cool and entertained during the summer heat, simply add water to the Lexi & Me Cooling Toy Popsicle, freeze it overnight and let your dog play with it while it defrosts so they too can enjoy a refreshing ‘popsicle’ in the hot Australian sun. Coming in pink, blue or turquoise, the cooling toy works to keep your four- legged friend safe and comfortable throughout summer.
For dogs that struggle to stay cool during daily walks, try the Buddy & Belle Cooling Collar. Coming in two sizes, small and large, the collar combats overheating with its safe to use, non-toxic gel pad and lightweight material that’s adjustable with its Velcro closure to ensure a comfortable fit for your buddy.
To complete the set, the matching Buddy & Belle Cooling Mat offers the same features and is perfect for road trips or on their bed during hot summer nights. With no freezer or refrigeration required for the collar or bedding, the easy to use accessories stay cooler than room temperature all day long.
PETstock picks: PETstock pick: Lexi & Me Cooling Toy Popsicle, RRP $14.99 each, Buddy & Belle Cooling Collar, RRP $12.99 – $18.99, Buddy & Belle Cooling Mat, RRP $24.99 – $64.99
Reusable travel accessories
Made from durable silicone rubber, the Beco Travel Bowl is the perfect summer accessory for pooches on the go. The collapsible travel bowl is slim in design and its textured grip handles make it easy to carry, even when full. Not only is the bowl sustainable and reusable, it’s dishwasher safe and available in multiple sizes to suit your buddy.
PETstock pick: Beco Travel Bowl, RRP $11.99 – $24.99
Hydrating veterinary products
Vetafarm All Animals Spark Liquid is a veterinary formulated, multipurpose electrolyte that is essential for every pet owner to ensure pets stay hydrated, happy and healthy.
To prepare a fresh solution daily, simply add 20ml of Spark Liquid to 1L of drinking water. The electrolyte is quickly absorbed into the water, enabling optimal and convenient hydration. Giving your pet Spark Liquid during high temperature will help to recharge them, especially in times of stress or in transport, making it the perfect addition to every pet parent’s first aid kit.
PETstock pick: Vetafarm All Animals Spark Liquid 125ml, RRP $19.99
What are your top tips to keep your pets safe and cool during summer? Tell us in the comments below.