Top tips to take care of your pets over summer
With thewarmer weather upon us, SPCA wants to remind animal owners to be vigilant in the care of their pets over the summer.
In the summer months, SPCA sees an increase in the volume of complaints relating to animals without shade, animals lacking fresh water, and dogs left in hot cars.
“All of these welfare calls can be avoided by owners putting provisions in place and planning ahead for their furry family members,” says SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen.
Dog owners should also be aware that with the introduction of MPI’s new Animal Welfare regulations on October 1, they can now be fined $300 for leaving their dog in a hot car.
“Dogs left in cars is a common welfare issue SPCA responds to over the summer. The interior of a car can heat up very quickly on a sunny day. Leaving the windows slightly open has very little effect. This situation can be extremely dangerous— even fatal— for dogs and is entirely preventable.
“It is our hope that owners will be mindful of the new regulation and the risk to their dogs— and think twice about leaving their dog in a car on awarm day,” says Andrea.
“Summer is an enjoyable time of year for pets and people, and there are simple steps animal owners can take to make sure their pets are safe and happy too.”
Help your pet stay cool and enjoy a happy summer by following SPCA’s summer safety tips:
Dogs in cars
If the purpose of your trip is not for your dog, leave them at home. If you must take your dogwith you in the car, bring fresh water and a water dish for them and always take your dog with you when you leave your car. Leaving a dog in a car on a warm day is a risk, as they can quickly suffer and die in hot cars. The new regulation to protect dogs means, if you leave your dog in a hot car and it becomes heat stressed, you and the owner of the vehicle can be fined $300. If you see a dog suffering in a hot car, take immediate action by finding the dog owner or call the Police or SPCA. Do not smash the car window as this can put both you and the dog at risk.
Exercise for pets
Exercise your pets early in the mornings or in the evenings, so they won’t overheat. Avoid long and strenuous walks onwarm, sunny days, and steer clear of prolonged sun exposure. Take your pets to an area that has shade or a place for them to swim so they can take a break to cool off, and if theywant to slow down or stop, follow their lead. Water for all
Ensure your animals always have access to clean, fresh drinking water. In summer, keep their water bowl in a shaded spot to avoid it warming up. Just like us, pets don’t likewarm drinking water. You can also leave shallow dishes of cool water in shaded spots outside to help wildlife keep cool and hydrated. Water may also be used to mist pets to help them keep cool.
Pets that are fair-skinned or lighthaired are particularly susceptible to the sun’s harsh rays. Skin cancer occurs commonly in dogs and cats and, even though the fur provides some sun protection, your pet needs a sunblock applied every three to four hours to areas of their body that have no, or little, hair. You can buy pet-friendly sunscreen to rub on the tips of their ears, on the end of their nose, and on their stomach— these are themost commonly sunburnt areas. Normal sunscreen ingredients include zinc oxide, which can be toxic to animals, so a pet-friendly sunscreen is best.
Ensure your outside pets, including horses, goats and poultry, have access to shaded areas to avoid the sun. Bear in mind the shade moves throughout the day so make sure to have multiple shade sources so your pet is protected regardless of time of day. Mature trees provide excellent shade but, if you do not have access to these, artificial shade can be simply and inexpensively constructed from shade cloth or tarps.
Paws for thought
Your dog’s feet can get burnt and blistered on the hot ground, particularly hot pavements, asphalt or scorching beach sand. Hot black iron-rich sands are found along much of the Western Coast of the North Island and can cause huge damage to the paws of your furry friends. Check if it is a safe temperature by holding the back of your hand on the pavement or sand for five seconds. If it is too hot for you to hold your hand there then your pet shouldn’t be outwalking on it.
Pets requiring extra care
In the summer months, pet owners should take extra care with older or overweight pets, brachycephalic breeds (such as Pugs, British Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs), and those suffering from cardiac conditions. These pets are more susceptible to falling victim to heat stress.
Make sure your cat has some shaded, cool spots to lie down in.
SPCA reminds people not to leave their dogs in the car at this time of year.
Take care of dogs over the hot months.