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Animal Welfare League Queensland urges pet owners to prepare for expected heatwave

18 January 2019 - For Immediate Use

With the heatwave gripping many parts of the country expected to move east and bring near-40-degree temperatures to parts of south-east Queensland by the weekend, Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) is urging pet owners to ensure their animals have somewhere cool to retreat to.

Melinda Phipps, AWLQ State Rehoming Manager, warns that unless owners take the necessary precautions, pets can rapidly suffer from heat stroke and even die on very hot days.

“It is also important to remember that dark-haired cats and dogs will absorb more heat through their fur and that light-haired dogs are more susceptible to sunburn.

“Pets that are more likely to suffer in the heat include breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, greyhounds, persians and exotic shorthairs, and any with especially thick coats,” said Ms Phipps.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology inland areas of the south-eastern corner to reach maximums in the high 30s later in the week while towns in the southern interior are bracing for tops in the 40s.

“There are several things owners can do to protect their pets. These guidelines are especially important for owners of older pets, pets with thick coats, short noses, or pets adapted to cooler climates.

“One of the most important things to remember is never to leave them in a hot place from which they cannot leave. So, never leave them locked in a room without air-conditioning or a car. Animals should not be locked in cars no matter what the weather but especially not in the heat,” said Ms Phipps.

Tips for keeping your pet safe on hot days:

  • Never leave your animals in a vehicle – even with the windows open. A parked car is like an oven and temperatures can reach extreme levels in just a short period of time leading to fatal heat stroke.
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly – have plenty of fresh, clean water available. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets – this includes excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, vomiting, or even collapse. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke.
  • If you can’t be home seek alternative arrangements – ask your neighbour or a family member to mind your pet. If your pet is home alone, where possible, leaving the air-conditioning or fans on in the house will help to keep pets cool.
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool or at the beach – not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.
  • Don’t let your pets linger on hot pavements – when the temperature is very high and being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly. Their sensitive paw pads can burn so keep dog walks during these times to a minimum.

If you are concerned about your pet’s wellbeing, consult your veterinarian immediately. To report wildlife in distress contact 1300 264 625.


For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email


12 December 2018 - For Immediate Use

With heavy rain and strong winds set to lash the Queensland coast in the coming days, Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) is urging pet owners to ensure their animals have somewhere secure and dry to bunker down.

Melinda Phipps, AWLQ State Rehoming Manager, says the organisation sees a significant influx of lost animals coming into care when severe storms occur.

“Pets are at higher risk of becoming lost during a storm. The sudden atmospheric  changes and loud noises associated with storms is one of the most prevalent phobias in animals, and result in many of them escaping from their properties. This then puts them at risk of injuring themselves.

“According to the Bureau of Meteorology South East Queensland can expect widespread heavy rain from Friday through until Sunday. The best advice we can offer pet owners is to keep their pets inside during this period.

“While there is no magic solution to prevent animals from becoming distressed during storms, there are several things owners can do to calm and protect their pets,” said Ms Phipps.

Tips for keeping your pet safe during a storm:

  • Bring pets indoors at the first sign of a storm – animals can become disoriented or try to escape the property to get away from the storm.
  • If you are not able to be home – ask a neighbour or family member to take care of your pet in the event you are unable to do so.
  • Storm phobic animals – confine them to a small space or room if you know this makes them feel safe, close the blinds so your pet can’t see outside and have music playing. You can also try a thunder coat.
  • Make sure all pets have identification – ensure your pet’s microchip details are up-to-date and they are wearing a collar and identification tag.

“Losing a pet is a very distressing time for owners. In the event your pet does go missing during a storm, check your neighbourhood as someone may have found your pet and are keeping them safe. Ensure you contact your local Council, animal shelters and vet clinics. It is also a good idea to list your pet missing on social media lost and found pages.

“This is also a very timely reminder for pet owners to make sure they have an emergency plan in place for their pets during a natural disaster,” said Ms Phipps.

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For all media enquiries please contact Craig Montgomery at AWLQ on 07 5509 9030/0424 382 727 or email