How To Keep Your Pet Cool During Extreme Heat

It's so important

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Summer is well and truly here, so while you are thinking about keeping yourself cool don't forget about your furry friends!

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has a list of easy tips to help your pet manage during those hot summer days.



  • Make sure there is plenty of cool, fresh water available at all times in a shady area 
  • Make sure your pets have multiple shady areas to go to over the day - remember, the sun will move to almost every part of your backyard during the day!
  • If you own a long-haired dog, consider giving them a trim - even if you just do it yourself (carefully)
  • Avoid exercise in the hottest part of the day: if you decide to take them for a walk, try and go early in the morning or later in the evening after the day has cooled down
  • If your dog is typically kept outside - and you're at home - consider bringing them inside with you to cool off in the air con or with a fan


Consider offering ice cold water

While most outdoor cats have the freedom to find themselves a cool place to lounge during extreme heat, they are as prone to heatstroke and dehydration as we are. Dropping a few ice cubes into their water bowl will give them a refreshing kick to keep them hydrated and happy.

No air-conditioner? Try this instead

Freezing a bottle of water overnight, wrapping it in a towel and placing it in your kitties favourite spot will give them a cool resting place to  lounge away the day. But avoid frozen gel packs as the contents can be toxic should your cat decide they need a new kneading bag.

Keep kitties indoors

Staying inside is the best way to ensure your kitty is kept cool and safe during the summer season. Also try keeping playtime until after the sun goes down, to avoid any chance of your feline friend overheating.

Don't forget about our native furry friends!

While we enjoy the summer holidays – returning to our air-conditioned abodes when it gets too much – our native animals, especially our koalas and birds, can find it difficult to cope with the sweltering heat and limited water sources. Here’s how you can help them out this summer.


Provide water but not food

The simplest way to help? Leave bowls of fresh, clean water out in shady locations. Shallow dishes are better for smaller animals. If you use a large container make sure to provide a rock or stick so that small animals can climb out. Turning the sprinkler on for an hour during the heat of the day is also a great idea for hot birds to come and have a quick bath to cool down. But unless you’re advised to by a registered wildlife carer or veterinarian, don’t attempt to feed wild animals.

Watch for weird behaviour


When wild animals suffer heat stress, they often break their usual patterns of behavior.  They may lose their balance, collapse or appear confused. Animals that spend much of their time up trees or are nocturnal, like koalas and possums, might be found sitting on the ground or awake during the day. If you see an animal in distress,  keep handling to an absolute minimum. You can gently wrap the animal loosely in a towel placed in a cardboard box and offer it water to drink, then seek assistance.


Call for help - have a contact number handy for your local RSPCA or animal rescue organisation.

As your pets get older they may start to struggle with the heat more, so make sure to take extra care with elderly dogs and cats. 

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker explained“Veterinarians receive numerous calls from concerned pet owners during summer heatwaves seeing worrying signs like lethargy, excessive panting or breathing problems. But there are simple tips that can help to prevent or minimise problems. Pets, such as cats and dogs, cool off through the pads of their feet and tongues. They need to pant to regulate their temperature, and dogs and cats with long hair can be more susceptible to the effects of heat.

“It’s important that owners take precautions to protect their pets from heat-related health issues. 

So look after your pets as the weather heats up! 

24 January 2019

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