From its snowfields to its deserts, Australia is a land of temperature extremes, so it pays to know how your dog can deal with that.
Just as we care for ourselves differently at differrent times of the year, we should also be sensitive to our dog's needs during colder and warmer weather conditions, or at particular times like festivals and celebrations.
As temperatures soar, dogs become more vulnerable to heat stress. Maintaining a comfortable environment for your dog is important, so provide plenty of cool, fresh water to help keep your dog cool throughout the summer.
- If you go on a journey, remember to take water along and also a towel. A wet towel is an effective way of cooling down your dog.
- Never leave your dog in the car. Confinement in a car or any other poorly ventilated enclosure can be fatal. One study reports that when the outside temperature is 26ºC, the inside of a car will reach 32ºC in five minutes and 43ºC in 25 minutes!
- Avoid exercising your dog too much during hot days or warm, humid nights. The best time to exercise is either early in the morning before sunrise, or late in the evening after the sun goes down.
- Exposed areas, such as the nose and ears, can be susceptible to sunburn, and dogs that have recently had their coats trimmed short are particularly vulnerable to burning as well as heat stress.
- Heatstroke can develop rapidly with exposure to high temperatures, humidity and poor ventilation. Symptoms include panting, a staring or anxious expression, failure to respond to commands, warm, dry skin, extremely high temperature, dehydration, rapid heartbeat and collapse. Puppies and geriatric dogs tend to be more susceptible to the condition, as do adult dogs that have recently moved from a cooler climate or that have an existing cardiovascular or respiratory condition. With any form of heat stress, prompt veterinary attention is important to deal with potential complications.
Outdoor events and festivals can be a lot of fun for you and your dog, and many fairs and shows provide good facilities for dog owners. But do remember that busy, noisy events can also be unsettling for a dog, with so many colours, sights, sounds and other dogs competing for attention. So consider carefully if this is the right sort of environment for your dog.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.