When animals are exposed to high temperatures, they are vulnerable to dehydrating or suffering from severe stress.
In order to prevent this pet owners should start preparing to protect their pets from the heat in advance.
The most effective way to help animals in hot weather is to ensure that there is plenty of shade, clean and cool water, and allowing them to rest.
Ample water that is both clean and cool should be easily accessible for animals. If there are a large amount of animals, there should be a large amount of water sources that is spread out so as to prevent overcrowding at one source. The water containers should be fixed in such a manner that it will not get tipped over by animals. Water should be fixated to pipes that can either automatically refill as water levels decrease or owners should check every so often that the water containers are always full. Owners should familiarize their pets with the different water sources days in advance from the heatwave. This is to ensure that the animals do not have to search for their water in the heat. Water sources should also be placed nearby shady areas so that the animal doesn’t have to travel far in the heat in order to get water.
Pet owners should ensure that there is plenty of suitable shelter for all their pets. If there is a large number of animals, the owner might have to consider separating the animals into groups and providing individual shelter for each group to prevent overcrowding which will increase the risk of the animals becoming stressed.
Suitable shelter is shelter that simultaneously shelters the animal from the harsh sun as well as allows cool wind to pass through.
Shelter that is made out of materials such as aluminium or galvanised steel for the roof because they reflect the radiative rays of the sun, shelter made from cloth/timber/corrugated iron.
The inside of your home is also suitable due to there being shade, ensure windows are left open to allow the cool wind to pass through.
Large trees that can provide great amounts of shade. We advise that owners do not only rely on the shelter of trees.
Kennels must be moved under the shade.
TRANSPORTING ANIMALS IN THE HEAT
We do not recommend that owners travel with their pets during the heat wave unless it is a matter of urgency.
In the event of an animal needing to be transported during the heat wave we advise that the animal be transported in the early hours of the morning or in the later hours of the day toward the evening when temperatures are at their lowest. Owners should stop ever so often when traveling long distances and should provide the animals with cool water. Under no circumstance should an animal be left alone in the vehicle in the sun, even if the windows are open.
Pets should not be forced to exercise/work in the heat. If you would like to exercise with your pet it should be during the early hours of the morning or the evening when temperatures are low.
ANIMALS PRONE TO DEHYDRATION/HEAT STRESS
Animals that have dark skin/fur
Animals that are sick/injured
Animals that are still young
Animals that have no access to water, shelter and food.
Animals that are restrained (chained/ tied up)
DETECTING HEAT STRESS
Signs of heat stress include:
Drinking water excessively
Excessive amounts of saliva in the mouth
TREATING HEAT STRESS
IMMEDIATELY remove the animal from direct heat/sunlight. Pick the animal up and place it somewhere shady and where there is cool wind blowing. Offer the animal small amounts of cool, clean water. Wet the animal’s feet and legs. Spray the animal with cool water. Smaller pets can even be placed inside buckets of water for a short period under the supervision of the owner. If the animal is not cooling down, it should be taken to the vet immediately.