Summer is fast approaching across Australia and by all credible accounts, we’re likely entering an extended El Niño event, which means hotter and drier conditions ahead. There’s also the welcome prospect of the Christmas/End of Year holiday period and plenty of time to spend outdoors under the sun with our dear furry friends.
Whilst by rights, we Aussies love our warm weather and sun-filled days by the beach, it’s also worth keeping in mind that just like us humans, our Pets also need a break when the mercury rises.
That’s why this month, on the cusp of the festive season, the Pets Country Club team are sharing handy tips to prepare yours for the Summer months ahead and help them avoid the dangers of heat stress. So, grab your sunnies, an icy cold treat and enjoy reading! 😎
Get on top of grooming
The first step to prepare your pets for Summer? Get on top of their grooming needs early – especially by keeping their coats clean and in the case of some dogs, by shaving their fur. Shaved fur will not only help them cool down much faster, it will also prevent common infections and uncomfortable matting after swimming. Other grooming needs to keep front of mind include clipping nails and carefully cleaning your furry friend’s ear canal. 😊
Keep your pet's coat clean
Shave your dog's fur (if applicable for their breed) to help them cool down much faster
Don’t forget other grooming needs – including clipping nails & cleaning their ear canal
Watch out for grass seeds!
An often-overlooked danger but a very common one across Victoria during the warmer months is grass seeds. Small in nature but with the potential to cause all sorts of trouble, grass seeds are rampant in dry and windy conditions – which aids their spread. They can burrow their way under pets’ skin, in between toes or in their ears, eyes and nostrils; causing pain and infection and requiring professional veterinary attention to remove. The best cure is prevention, which can be achieved by keeping your furry friends' coat short and minimising their walks through long and dry grass (also a smart move to avoid snakes)! It's also vital to check their fur after walks and remove grass seeds immediately from their coat.
Grass seeds can burrow their way into pets’ skin, between toes, eyes, ears & nostrils
They can cause pain & infection – requiring removal by a vet
Avoid this danger by minimising your pet's walk through long & dry grass
Keep an eye out for signs of heat stress in pets
More than just an uncomfortable condition, heat stress (also known as ‘heat stroke’) is the biggest risk your pets face over the summer months and can cause serious damage if left untreated. Affected animals will first show excitation, followed by loss of balance and seizures, as the blood vessels in their brain engorge. A coma can follow and heart failure is also common as other changes in their internal organs occur. In the worst-case scenario, heat stress in cats and dogs can even be fatal. Common signs to look out for include:
Excessive panting (that increases with their heat stress)
Drooling and excessive salivation
Restlessness and general agitation
First-Aid: What to do if your pet is suffering from heat stress?
While the symptoms are distressing, it's important to note that heat stress in pets can be treated effectively if you act fast. Emergency first aid is vital and begins by placing your pet out of the sun’s heat and into a cool room or bath, before contacting your nearest vet. Here are those vital first-aid tips in a nutshell:
Remove your pet from the sun or source of heat
Place them in a cool room with ample drinking water and if possible, a cool bath
Place your wet pet in front of a fan and apply ice packs to their head
Contact your vet for medical advice and transport them with care to the nearest clinic
Cool and comfortable: How to avoid heat stress in the first place
Thankfully, preparing your pets for Summer heatwaves and avoiding the dangers of heat stress only requires a little common sense. The RSPCA in particular offers the following handy tips that will have your furry friend feeling cool and comfortable:
Check the weather forecast so you can prepare for hot days (over 30C) in advance
Exercise your pets early in the morning or late in the evening on hot days
Avoid walks on hot surfaces (if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws)!
If you can, bring your pets inside on very hot days, especially if you have AC
If your pets must stay outdoors, ensure they have ample shade
Indoors or outdoors, ensure your pet has access to plenty of clean drinking water
Ensure good ventilation, as most pets cool themselves down by panting
Keen for a cool and comfortable place for your pets to stay while you enjoy a well-deserved Summer break? Contact our friendly team at Pets Country Club Lara on (03) 5282 1286. 😊