Despite the warnings, health risks and potential animal cruelty fines, many Australians are still putting their pets at risk over the summer and holiday season due to the extreme heat, toxic Christmas treats and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

So if you enjoy getting out in the warm weather and the festive season frivolities, here’s our Top Tips to keep your pet safe.

HEAT/SUN

  • NEVER leave an animal tied up on a rope or chain. In the heat, their instinct will be to desperately find water or shade and could lead them to choking themselves or suffering heatstroke and dehydration.
  • Dogs still need exercise in summer, but do this in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler rather than in the middle of the day to avoid heatstroke, painful burns and blistering to their paw pads.
  • Avoid walking or keeping your pet on synthetic grass areas as artificial grass can heat up and burn a dog extremely quickly.
  • Provide plenty of shade options as often a small porch area or awning cover is exposed to the sun during the later parts of the day.
  • Leave out a paddle pool full of fresh water in the shade for drinking and bathing.
  • Dogs often dig holes in summer to find relief from the heat, so it’s important not to punish this behaviour when you get home. Take note of what they are trying to tell you and make provisions!
  • Birds and other wildlife are also at risk of the heat so leave out fresh water in safe places for birds and other wild animals away from household pets.
  • Don’t ever leave your pet in a car on warm days, even with windows down and in the shade, temperatures can jump by 10 degrees in minutes and a dog’s body temperature rises far quicker than a humans’.
  • Use a pet-friendly sunblock on dogs. Apply to any bare skin with extra attention on their nose and ears. Even their bellies if they have little fur and are prone to laying on their back or side in the sun.
  • Avoid shaving double-coated breeds, as the coat acts as a protective. As an alternative, use a grooming rake to remove excess undercoat to allow air-flow. Find out why you should avoid shaving them here.

For some additional Summer Safety Tips, click here.

TOXIC FOOD

  • Keep all toxic food out of reach of pets. This includes chocolate or any cocoa-based products, raisins and currants, macadamias and other toxic nuts, alcohol, grapes…so Christmas cake is definitely off the list.

To find out more about toxic Christmas treats click here.

FIREWORKS & THUNDERSTORMS

  • On New Year’s Eve and Australia Day in particular when fireworks are aplenty, arrange for your dog or cat to stay somewhere safe and ideally with human company if they have a fear of loud noises or fireworks.
  • If this is not possible, then leave them inside in a secure and cool room with water and block out the sounds with blinds, radio or TV music (not the channel broadcasting the fireworks!).
  • A thundershirt may also help. This applies for summer thunderstorms as well.

For more tips to keep your pet safe during fireworks and thunderstorms, click here.

It’s important to know what to do in an emergency, so here are some first aid tips to help.


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.