For Immediate Use
1 February 2023
Warning for pet owners as heatwave grips many parts of Queensland
Unless owners take the necessary precautions, pets can rapidly suffer from heat stroke and even die on very hot days.
With the heatwave gripping many parts of Queensland, bringing 30-degree temperatures to parts of southeast Queensland by the weekend, Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) is urging pet owners to ensure their animals have somewhere cool to retreat to.
AWLQ Spokesperson, Craig Montgomery, warns that unless owners take the necessary precautions, pets can rapidly suffer from heat stroke and even die on sweltering days.
“Pets more likely to suffer in the heat include breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, greyhounds and exotic shorthairs (cats), and any with especially thick coats.
“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,” said Mr Montgomery.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a low-intensity heatwave is expected across the Gold Coast for the next few days. Temperatures are expected to hit 30 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday, rising to 33 degrees on Friday.
“There are several things owners can do to protect their pets. These tips are vital for owners of older pets, pets with thick coats and 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 the weather,” Mr Montgomery said.
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; temperatures can reach extreme levels quickly, leading to fatal heat stroke.
- Pets dehydrate quickly – have plenty of fresh, clean water available. Also, 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 scorching.
- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, including 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, leaving the air-conditioning or fans on in the house will help keep pets cool.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool or at the beach – not all dogs are good swimmers. Instead, gradually introduce your pets to water, and ensure they wear flotation devices when on boats.
- Don’t let your pets linger on hot pavements – when the temperature is very high and is so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly. In addition, their sensitive paw pads can burn, so keep dog walks during these times to a minimum.
Consult your veterinarian immediately if you are concerned about your pet’s well-being. To report wildlife in distress, contact 1300 264 625.
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About Animal Welfare League Queensland
Founded in 1959, AWLQ has become a trusted leader in animal welfare. We provide a safe haven and second chance for more than 10,000 stray and homeless animals annually. To each of these animals we welcome through our doors, we promise never to euthanise a healthy, sociable, or treatable animal in our care. In addition to our shelter work, we are committed to keeping pets and people together by providing lifesaving support and resources to people in need with companion animals. We are known for our grassroots and innovative community-based animal welfare work, including our community vet clinics, Getting to Zero, Golden Hearts Seniors’ Support Program and the National Desexing Network.