TAFE NSW animal expert's top tips to keep pets safe in summer

KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE THIS SUMMER: Debi Coleman with her dogs.
KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE THIS SUMMER: Debi Coleman with her dogs.

In the summer months, our pets can be exposed to a higher risk of illness from environmental factors such as heatstroke, dehydration, snake and spider bites, and even sunburn.

To ensure pet owners are equipped to care for their pets, TAFE NSW Head Teacher Animal Studies, Rebecca Coventry shares her top tips for keeping your pets safe:

Be sun safe and hydrate - Just like humans, pets are susceptible to heatstroke, especially dog and cat breeds with shorter muzzles. During summer exercise should be limited to the cooler times of the day, and animals regularly monitored to ensure they are coping with the heat. Remember that road and concrete surfaces can still be very hot and cause burns to footpads.

When it comes to being sun safe, shade and hydration is key.Just as you do throughout the year, ensure you keep your pet hydrated with fresh water all summer long. If you notice they are panting and salivating excessively, lethargic or have a dry nose and gums, this is a sign that they maybe dehydrated.

Jennifer Pratt and dog.

Jennifer Pratt and dog.

As much as your pet may enjoy laying in the sun, it is vital they have access to shade all day long. On exceptionally hot days, it is best to bring smaller pets like rabbit, ferrets and guinea pigs, and older pets inside as the heat effects them more. Birds may need fresh water provided and misting to keep them cool. If at any time your pet appears to be unwell, take them to the vet.

Be aware of breathing issues - Panting helps to lower a pets body temperature, but for pets with short muzzles this is not always as effective. If you pet has a short muzzles that effects their ability to breath, check in with your vet to find out ways to manage this during summer, and be vigilant of their breathing. Some breeds that are susceptible include Bulldogs, French bulldogs and Pugs.

Protect from sunburn - Sunburn can be a real issue in animals with short or lighter coloured coats, or pink noses and ears, and can result in skin cancer and other health complications, which is why it is vital to protect your pet from the sun. You can find sunscreens appropriate for your pet at most pet retailers, or by talking to your vet. Best practice is to keep your animal inside to avoid sunburn.

Stay away from snakes - Snakes are active in the warmer months, with many venturing into backyards and parks.The best thing to do to keep your pet safe is to avoid bushland and long grass where snakes might be present, and keep them on a leash when on walks. If your pet is bitten by a snake, fast action is vital. Ensure you keep them calm, minimise their movement and immediately seek the assistance of a veterinarian.

Check for ticks - Ticks are active all year round, however they are more troublesome during the warmer months. Paralysis ticks can be deadly, meaning that it is important to regularly and thoroughly search your pet for ticks and use a suitable preventative tick product.

If you find a tick on your pet, it is best to contact your vet immediately. Some signs that your pet has been affected by a paralysis tick include; changes in their bark and whine, lethargy, difficulty getting up stairs or on furniture, loss of appetite and drooling.

To find out more about studying animal care courses in 2020, visit TAFE NSW to learn more or call 131 601.