Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Beware of heat stress in pets: vet

This week's heatwave might catch some pet owners unawares, according to a district vet.

RENEE THOMPSON January 15, 2014 4:56am

Jes Summer from Rose's Veterinary practice with 6 month old "Ziggy"


A district vet is worried pet owners might be ill-prepared for this week’s heatwave.

Echuca vet Rose Parsons said while she had not had any cases of pets brought in with heat stress yet, high temperatures this week were a big concern.

‘‘We haven’t had too many hot days this summer. Now we’ve got five really hot days in a row,’’ she said.

‘‘The heat might catch people unawares. People might think their pets will be okay.’’

She said the clinic saw a few heat stroke cases each year and more animals were brought in with heat stress.

‘‘What we do get in summer is heart problems in animals and animals which don’t cope so well in heat,’’ she said.

Mrs Parsons said pet owners should pay particular attention to pets more susceptible to the heat.

‘‘Black, dark-skinned animals and animals with heart conditions and those with chronic illness tend to be most vulnerable,’’ she said.

‘‘Short-nose dogs are really susceptible. They don’t breathe well at all.

‘‘It’s not a bad idea to shave long and hairy cats and dogs to keep them cool over summer months.’’

She said there were a few simple tips for preventing heat stress in pets and being aware of how the climbing mercury might affect them.

‘‘Dogs and cats can drink three or four times the amount of water they normally drink on hot days,’’ she said.

‘‘Their access to water and shade is important but, if it’s a humid day, be aware shade and water might not be enough to prevent them getting overheated.’’

Mrs Parsons said knowing the dangers hot weather posed to pets could make all the difference.

‘‘Don’t put them in the car even for less than five minutes. Even with the windows down you will be putting your pet at risk,’’ she said.

‘‘On the back of a ute, the metal surface can burn your pet’s paws.

‘‘Don’t put them on the back of a ute without shade and appropriate coverings to prevent them burning their paws.’’

Piling an overheated animal into a hot car could have disastrous health consequences for the pet, Mrs Parsons said.

‘‘First call the vet and put wet teatowels over your pet to help cool them down. Don’t just jump in the car straight away,’’ she said.

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