We have already been hit by some sweltering summer days this year and weather forecasters are predicting quite a few more. Our clinic is a nice place to be on a hot day as it has climate controlled air conditioning, but we need to make sure our beloved pets at home get to keep cool as well.

Here are Gaby and Gus ‘coping’ with the heat right beneath the air conditioner!

1. Get them out of the heat. This may sound really simple but it is amazing how many animals get brought in stressed from being left outside without much shelter. By shelter, I mean a large area of shade like a tree or verandah with plenty of air circulation. A kennel in the sun or a small area under a bush is not enough during a scorcher. If at all possible, especially if you have a pet with a short nose, get them inside out of the heat and sharing your air-conditioner.

2. Give them a cool surface to lie on and stretch out. Animals are pretty smart and, if available, they find seek out tiles, concrete, paddling pools, etc to stretch out on and help absorb the heat from their bodies.

3. Leave cool drinks and treats. Make sure you leave out extra water in large containers in the shade, as water requirements go up a lot during hot days. Also freeze dry food in water or stock in ice cream containers and leave out where your pet can enjoy its own version of an icy pole! Even kongs can be filled with canned pet food and frozen as a treat.

4. Check on your pet (or ask a friend or neighbour) if they have to be left alone for many hours whilst you are at work. Even the best laid plans can go astray!

5. Avoid exercising your dog in the heat. Get out early (really early!) or late in the evening to give your dog its walk. If that is not possible, or you own a dog that gets easily heat stressed, then just give it a miss. Keep the exercise pretty relaxed on these days too. No hectic games of fetch! Go for a swim instead.

6.. NEVER, EVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR, even for a short time! It happens every year that pets die from being left in cars. It is far easier than you think to leave your dog or cat for just a few minutes and then get distracted. It doesn’t take long for a pet to become life-threateningly ill from heatstroke.

If it does so happen that your pet does become heat stressed, despite your best endeavours, then please contact us ASAP on 03 5244 4202 for prompt first aid advice and then bring your animal down immediately. Heat stress or heat stroke is very serious.