RSPCA's plea to keep pets cool to avoid heat stress

Published 12:00pm 23 December 2021

RSPCA's plea to keep pets cool to avoid heat stress
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Pet owners are being reminded to be extra vigilant about their pet’s welfare over the summer months, after the RSPCA were swamped with calls from the community reporting animals suffering from heat stress.

RSPCA Queensland spokeswoman Emma Lagoon says the organisation is deeply concerned about the high number of animals being left in hot cars.

“Since the beginning of November our inspectors have received 116 calls reporting heat stress, and so far this year we’ve also had 105 calls about animals being left in hot cars,” Emma says.

“Cars can quickly turn into ovens, so don’t leave your pet behind when you duck into the shops.

“In a matter of minutes your pet can suffer heatstroke and die if left in a car.”

The RSPCA also says it’s important that pets have access to ample shade and water as the temperature rises.

“It’s a timely reminder for dog owners to never leave your pet tethered. The sun moves during the day, if your dog can’t access shade or water they will perish,” Emma says.

“Too often our Inspectors have been called out to rescue dogs in distress only to find it’s too late.”

Last December an RSPCA inspector was called out to a critical job where a dog was suffering from heat exhaustion after being tethered to a clothesline.

No one was home and no water or shelter was provided for the dog.

Despite rescuing the dog and rushing him to the vet, it was too late.

“We do not want to see a repeat of these situations this Summer, or any time of year.”

RSPCA's plea to keep pets cool to avoid heat stress

Signs your pet is suffering from heat stress 

  • Relentless panting (increases as heatstroke progresses)
  • Drooling, salivating.
  • Agitation, restlessness.
  • Very red or pale gums.
  • Bright red tongue.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Breathing distress.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea (possibly with blood)


RSPCA's plea to keep pets cool to avoid heat stress

Top tips to help your pet cool down this summer

  • Provide extra bowls of water in case one is accidentally knocked over.
  • Give outdoor dogs takeaway containers filled with beef or chicken stock which has been frozen overnight.
  • Freeze half a bowl of water overnight and add half a bowl of cool water before giving it to your pet.
  • Provide extra shade areas in your backyard using shade cloths and shade umbrellas.
  • Let your pet play in paddling pools filled with water.
  • Never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows down. They could die in as little as six minutes, as temperatures in a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels, even on mild days. Leaving the windows open, parking in the shade and tinting do not help to reduce the inside temperature significantly.
  • Always walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when it’s cooler.
  • Ensure your pet always has easy access to shade and water throughout the day.
  • Allow your outdoor animals to come inside the house to share the air conditioning or electric fan.

Contact the RSPCA

If you see an animal in distress, contact the RSPCA’s 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL.

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