Protect pets from heat-related illness as Sydney temperatures soar

Media release date: 
Thursday, 14 December 2017

With Sydney temperatures already on the rise, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is providing practical tips on how to keep animals cool today.

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker said pets are just as susceptible to heat-related illness as humans.

“Veterinarians receive numerous calls from concerned pet owners during summer heatwaves seeing worrying signs like lethargy, excessive panting or breathing problems. But there are simple tips that can help to prevent or minimise problems.

“Pets, such as cats and dogs, cool off through the pads of their feet and tongues. They need to pant to regulate their temperature, and dogs and cats with long hair can be more susceptible to the effects of heat.

“It’s important that owners take precautions to protect their pets from heat-related health issues,” Dr Parker said.

Top tips for dogs and cats to beat the heat are:

  • make sure there is plenty of cool, fresh water available at all times in shady areas
  • make sure your pets have multiple shady areas to go to over the day
  • our senior pets can tend to struggle more with the heat, particularly if they have mobility and breathing problems, so we need to keep an extra eye on them
  • if you own a longhaired dog, consider giving them a trim to help them cope better with the hotter summer months
  • avoid exercise in the hottest part of the day, and if you do go for a walk, do so when the temperature is much lower in the very early morning or late evening
  • if you have air-conditioning or fans, often our pets are most comfortable inside with us.

“Dogs with flat faces are especially prone to overheating as their flat faces interfere with their ability to cool themselves. The AVA has partnered with the RSPCA to raise awareness about the health concerns of these dogs through our Love Is Blind campaign,” Dr Parker said.

Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, fatigue, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea and even seizures.

If your pet is displaying any signs of heat stroke, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

“And it goes without saying that you really must never leave a pet unattended in a car, even when the weather isn’t very hot,” Dr Parker said.

For more helpful tips and other information visit:

Keeping pets cool this summer

Love is Blind

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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