RSPCA warning to protect pets from heatstroke and avoid walking them on hot surfaces

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Pets left in cars during hot weather can die in minutes.
Camera IconPets left in cars during hot weather can die in minutes. Credit: RSPCA WA EvgeniiAnd/Getty Images/iStockphoto

As summer heats up, RSPCA Mid West inspector Paul Acton has warned walking dogs in hot temperatures can lead to heatstroke and be dangerous for their health.

Heatstroke in dogs can be fatal if not prevented, with pets left in cars, homes or without water at high risk. Heatstroke occurs when a dog’s body temperature rises above the normal range of 38-39C.

Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, and lethargy. If left untreated, heatstroke can lead to organ failure and death.

“RSPCA WA has seen pets tragically die in their own backyards from heatstroke. This is heartbreaking for owners and completely preventable — our pets rely on us to protect them from the heat,” Mr Acton said.

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Pets left in cars are at risk of heatstroke.
Camera IconPets left in cars are at risk of heatstroke. Credit: RSPCA WA

“Dogs suffering from heat stress may pant, drool and become restless. Over time they become weak and the colour of their gums may change.

“They may also start to stagger and experience vomiting, diarrhoea or seizures.”

He urged pet owners to avoid walking their dog in the heat of the day to avoid painful burns on their paws or heatstroke.

“Pavements, beach sand and dirt tracks can get incredibly hot in summer, so reserve dog walking for early morning or evening. Keep exercise light and bring water along on your walk,” he said.

“A good tip is to place the back of your hand on the ground for five seconds and if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog.”

As well as avoiding hot temperatures, Mr Acton said it was important to keep dogs well-hydrated during summer.

A husky keeping cool in the pool during summer.
Camera IconA husky keeping cool in the pool during summer. Credit: RSPCA WA

“Even pets left at home can suffer terribly if they don’t have access to shade and cool, fresh water,” he said.

“To protect dogs, it’s a good idea to leave more than one water bowl out on hot days in case one gets knocked over. Make sure bowls are in the shade — you can add some ice to keep the water cool too.”

Mr Acton said dogs should never be left in a parked car during hot weather. The temperature inside a car can quickly reach dangerous levels, even with the windows cracked open.

“A dog locked in a hot car can pass away in a matter of minutes,” he said.

“Older animals, pets who are overweight and flat-faced dogs, like pugs, are at a higher risk, but all animals are susceptible to heatstroke so it’s important to know the signs.”

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