Play it cool this summer

AS temperatures soar, ensuring pets stay hydrated and in cool conditions is the key to keeping them safe this summer.

Veterinarian Doctor Camille Addison from the Queanbeyan Vet Hospital said pet owners can take very simple steps to make sure their pets stay healthy and happy in the heat.

"Dehydration and heat stroke are more probable in summer particularly when dogs are tied up outside and lose access to shade and water, they can get dehydrated very quickly," she said. 

"It's important to make sure they're in the shade and have lots of water. Make sure the water is nice, clean and fresh. Add ice to keep it cool, it doesn't take a lot for a water bowl to heat up in the sun."

Other tips include not leaving animals in vehicles, avoid exercising pets in hot and humid conditions, feed pets with wet or tinned food and add a frozen water bottle to the cages of animals like rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets.

Dr Addison said very young as well as older pets are the most susceptible to heat stroke. She also pointed out rabbits were very sensitive to heat so owners should keep their hutch well-insulated.

During bush fire season, Dr Addison said pet owners should make alternative arrangements for their animals. Earlier in the week, a family dog, Buddy from Cooma, was brought into the hospital with burnt paws.

"On Tuesday, with catastrophic weather conditions predicted, we had many people bringing their dogs in for the day, we have limited facilities so we had to turn some people away," she said. 

"It's important owners arrange plans for their pets, it is often a last minute thought."Dr Addison also said any pet owners heading to the coast witht heir animals should be mindful of paralysis ticks as well as snakes.

"When going for a walk, particularly in bushland, it's best to keep dogs on a lead ... pets can die very quickly from a snake bite, as quick as 15 to 30 minutes after being bitten," she said. 

"There are also snake repellent devices available."

Dr Addison said summer was a good time for owners to ensure their animals are up to date with vaccinations as there are more animals out and about in the summer time increasing the risk of disease.

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