How to care for your pet during a heatwave

Australia has a unique natural habitat which pets and their owners often enjoy. Increasingly, pet owners need to be vigilant about the dangers occurring from natural disasters which could affect their pets – and prepare accordingly.

Pet emergencies can be activated by bushfires, floods, serious road trauma or other situations that require evacuation, so having a plan is an essential part of ensuring you’re prepared. Your plan should include the ability to provide fresh drinking water and enough pet food to last for a few days until you are able to return to your home or other accommodation where you can purchase more of your pet’s usual food.

Both you & your furry friends will want to stay cool during a heatwave, here’s how:

  • Ensure your pets have access to water at all times and check their bowls more often than you usually would during the cooler months.
  • Make use of air conditioning and fans if your pet has to stay home alone during a heatwave.
  • If you have the space for a dog pool, many dogs love lying in a paddling pool during the heat, just remember to position it in the shade
  • Walk when it’s cool – don’t risk your pet’s paws getting burned on hot asphalt, limit walking to morning & evening and test the heat of the ground with your hand before venturing out.
  • If you think your pet may be suffering from the effects of the heat, seek veterinary advice.

The following websites provide information to assist you in developing an emergency plan:

National – RSPCA Emergency Planning

VIC – Pets and bushfires

Pets in an emergency

QLD – Pet emergency plan

SA – Keeping pets safe in an emergency

NSW – Fire safety for your pets

WA – Pets and other animals

In sustained disasters such as the 2019 / 2020 bushfires, relief agencies offered emergency pet food and supplies to people in need, which were provided by several of the PFIAA’s members. Knowing which agencies provide products may also form a useful part of the emergency plan for your pet.