Whitehorse City Council

Pets & Heat Stress

In the same that people sometimes suffer from heat-related illness, heat stress can also affect pets.Responsible pet owners should take measures to ensure their pets are well looked after during hot weather.

Keeping Your Pets Cool

  • Make sure your pets have plenty of shelter to allow the escape direct sunlight. Provide them with access to shady areas. A kennel in direct sunlight can heat up very quickly and offers no shelter from the heat of the day. Place your dog’s kennel in a shady area. 
  • Pets can dehydrate very quickly so give them plenty of fresh clean water when it's hot outdoors. Other tips include putting ice blocks in their water bowl,
  • Be careful not to over-exercise your pets. Keep them indoor when it’s extremely hot.
  • Animals with flat faces such as pug dogs and Persian cats are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively as other animals. These pets, along with older or overweight pets or pets with heart or lung ailments should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Cool a ceramic tile or oven pan in the fridge/freezer and put out for small dogs and cats to lie on.
  • Don’t leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a car can double in a matter of minutes. Leaving the window down or parking in the shade does little to stop the temperature rising in the car. A dog left in a car can die within as little as six minutes as they are not able to sweat to cool themselves. 

Recognising Heat Stress in Pets 

  • Excessive panting.
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate.
  • Unsteady on feet, mild weakness, stupor or collapsing.
  • Seizures, diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
  • Increased body temperature. 

What To Do In Case of Heat Stress

  • Get your pet out of the direct sun or hot kennel, car or space as quickly as possible.
  • Cool the animal down as quickly as possible by hosing them down with cool water.
  • Wrap the animal in a cold wet towel.
  • Place ice packs on their head and stomach.
  • Place them in a cool bath or shower.
  • Place them in front of a cool fan or air conditioner.
  • Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible (try cooling your pet down first before taking them to the vet in a hot car because their temperature may continue to rise).