17 January 2017: Millions of Australia’s pets are suffering though the heatwave that’s gripping much of the country. PetSure’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Magdoline Awad, offers this advice on keeping pets safe as the mercury level soars.

"Put ice blocks in their water bowl to keep it cool all day. Don’t ever leave animals in hot cars unattended. And, make sure you keep them in the shade," she said.

Certain dog breeds, such as French Bulldogs and Greyhounds, are more likely to suffer from heat stress because their squashed faces make it difficult for them to breathe. Obese dogs, very young
dogs and very old dogs are also in the high risk category.

It’s important for owners to look out for signs that an animal is in danger of overheating.

"You should see your vet immediately if you notice unusually heavy panting or drooling, and if the animal’s gums change to a bright red or pink colour. If untreated, heatstroke can cause seizures,
coma and even death," she said.

Owners are encouraged to keep pets inside, and out of the sun, even if that disrupts their daily routine.

"It’s dangerous to walk dogs during the heat of the day. Try not to exercise between 11 am and 4 pm, and avoid walking on hot surfaces. If the ground feels hot to your hand, it’s too hot for your
dogs’ paws," she said.

When it comes to travelling on hot summer days, Dr Awad says there’s no excuse for leaving animals in hot cars or utes.

"Ute trays get extremely hot and are a known hazard for burning paws. If you need to travel, throw an old blanket down to protect your pet,"

"In parked cars, there’s no ventilation, it gets hot really quickly and they can die within minutes. It happens a lot," she said.

For more tips on how to best care for your pet, visit www.petsure.com.au.