Never leave your pets without shade and water.

In summer, animals need constant access to both water and shade, as heat stress can develop extremely quickly in hot weather. Your pet must also always stay cool, hydrated and safe.

Water, water, water

You might be surprised to know that dogs can’t sweat. Cooling occurs through panting (evaporative cooling from the lungs and mouth), lying on a cool surface and drinking cool water. Hot weather paired with high humidity are the most dangerous days for dogs as cooling through panting is not as efficient in these weather conditions. 

It's essential to keep your cat or dog hydrated with plenty of clean, fresh water in large containers that can be accessed at all times. Ensure that your pet’s water bowl is checked and topped up on a regular basis, and in the event that you are out, ensure that the bowl is big enough to hold enough water for the whole day. In case of a tip-over, consider leaving two or three water bowls – just in case! Ensure the containers are in the shade, and pop in a few ice cubes to keep the water nice and cold.   

If you’re on the go with your animal, invest in a portable water bowl so you can keep your pet hydrated throughout the day. If you have a dog, consider making a mini ‘pool’ for them to cool down by filling a clam shell with water. Check out a variety of bowls available and give your dog the gift of hydration.

Stay shady

We recommend bringing your pets indoors on hot days, but if it’s not possible, cool shady areas must be available for them. Remember the sun moves throughout the day – so ensure your pet has shade from all aspects throughout the day.

Pets can suffer heatstroke or even death in their own backyard on a hot summer’s day without shade or water. Dog houses do not provide adequate ventilation; your dog can end up being in a ‘hot box’, which can make matters even worse.

During a heat wave (or extreme temperatures), it is best to have your dog inside in a well-ventilated area, which will give them a break from the scorching sun. Remember, if you're feeling warm, chances are they are too! If your pet has fair skin and will be outdoors even for a short period of time, we suggest using pet-friendly sunscreen to keep skin cancers at bay. 

Don’t forget your small furry friends in the garden too! Guinea pigs and rabbits are very vulnerable in warmer weather, so you should consider bringing them inside when it really starts to heat up. We also suggest frozen water bottle in a sock or tea towel to help cool the small pet. 

Sleeping spots
Dogs will normally find the coolest spot of the house or yard themselves, but place outside beds or mats in shady or cool spots. Try dampening your dog’s blankets or mats with water to create cool resting spots, or you can also buy cooling mats specifically for dogs.

Heat stress can sometimes be more prevalent as a result of the animal’s physiological attributes. Short nosed or flat faced breeds, such as pugs, boxers, English bulldogs or French bulldogs, are far more susceptible to heat stress than other breeds. This is due to the fact that dogs naturally reduce their body temperature by panting (evaporative cooling from the lungs and mouth). These breeds also have shortened airways which reduces the effectiveness of panting. The weather does not even have to be particularly hot for these breeds to develop symptoms of heat stress. 

If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, please call your vet immediately.  

Learn more about the signs, symptoms and treatment options for heatstroke here. 

Keeping your pet cool

Here are some tips to help your pet cool down during 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
  • Ensure your pet always has easy access to shade and water throughout the day.
  • If you have a small cat or dog, cool a ceramic tile or oven pan in the fridge or freezer, and put it out for them to lie on.
  • Give your pocket pet a little bag of ice wrapped in a small, wet towel.
  • Allow your outdoor animals to come inside the house to share the air conditioning or electric fan.