As the temperature rises, it’s important to keep our furry friends cool and comfortable in the summer heat. Like us, our pets can overheat and develop heatstroke in soaring temperatures. To ensure your pets stay healthy and happy, here are some tips to keep them cool during the summer months.

Keep your pet hydrated

Our pets need plenty of clean, fresh drinking water during the summertime. Set up a large container outdoors in a shady location, and always have a backup water container in case of spills and evaporation. Inside your home, keep multiple water bowls, and when you venture out with your pet, carry a portable water container.

Vet tip: Adding ice cubes to the water can help keep it cooler for longer.

Plan your walks

Don’t put an end to your walks during the warmer weather; simply adjust the timing. Opt for early morning walks before the sun is scorching or evening walks as the sun sets. This can help prevent your pet from overheating, becoming dehydrated, or burning their paws.

Vet tip: Pavement can become searingly hot during the summer, causing paw pad burns. We recommend using the Five Second Rule before taking your pet outside. Simply place the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds. If it is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.

Kiddie pools and water play

Playing in water can help reduce your pet’s body temperature in the summer heat. A day at the bench can help them cool off while frolicking in the waves, fetching floating toys, or simply wading in the shallows. Remember to bring fresh drinking water, sunscreen and supervise your furry friend.

Alternatively, setting up a kiddie pool in a shady spot or turning on the backyard sprinklers can also be a fun way for your pet to cool off and have some water play right at home.

Vet tip: Pets can get sunburnt just like us! When they’re enjoying the outdoors, apply pet-safe sunscreen generously, paying particular attention to the vulnerable areas of their bodies, such as their nose, belly, and the tips of their ears.

Regular grooming

Grooming and clipping can help keep your pet comfortable in warm weather. Breeds like Cavoodles, with minimal shedding, benefit from regular clipping by a professional groomer. On the other hand, breeds like Border Collies naturally shed their fur, resulting in a lighter coat for summer. Brushing their fur regularly will help remove excess fur. For personalised advice for your pet’s coat, speak to a professional groomer.

Frozen treats

Making homemade frozen treats, such as ice cubes with chicken or beef broth, will go down a treat. A frozen stuffed Kong or lick mat are also perfect for hot summer days. Your pet will love this delicious way to cool down.

Cooling mats, vests and collars

These innovative accessories are designed to regulate your pet’s body temperature. Cooling mats provide a comfortable, cool surface to rest on while cooling collars and vests use evaporative cooling technology to keep your furry friends refreshed. These products are especially helpful during outdoor activities and walks, making summer more enjoyable for your pet.

Vet tip: If you don’t have a cooling mat, try putting ice packs under your pet’s bed or blanket or cover them in a wet towel to help keep them cool.

Avoid hot cars

Never leave your pet in a parked car during hot weather, even when parked in the shade with the windows down. Within minutes, the interior temperature can skyrocket to dangerous levels. Your pet can become dehydrated and collapse from heat exhaustion, which can be fatal. Avoid leaving your dog on the back of a ute, as the mental tray can become searing hot and burn their paws and other body parts.

Provide shade and shelter

Keep your pets indoors during the hottest part of the day. Whether you have air conditioning, fans, or just open windows, your pet will thank you for it. For breeds with shorter noses, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, who are more prone to heat exhaustion, this is particularly crucial.

When your pets are outside, ensure they have access to a well-ventilated, shaded area, as adequate airflow is essential for pets to pant, which lowers their body temperature.

Consider your pet’s breed

Short-nose breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, struggle to regulate their body temperature efficiently because of their limited ability to pant, which makes them more heat-sensitive than their long-nose friends. These breeds need more attention and care to ensure they’re safe in the heat. Ask your vet for heat-safety tips for your pet’s breed.

Know the signs of heatstroke

Like in humans, heatstroke occurs when an animal’s body temperature becomes elevated above the normal range due to exposure to high temperatures, to the point they can’t regulate a healthy temperature. Heatstroke can come on quickly and can be fatal.

Watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Excessive panting, drooling or thirst
  • Purple or red tongue or gums
  • Distress and collapsing
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these signs, contact your local vet immediately and start cooling your pet down slowly using wet towels and cool water.