Hot weather: How to care for your pets in near 40degC heat

  • 26/01/2018
Animals can get dehydrated and sunburnt in hot weather.
Animals can get dehydrated and sunburnt in hot weather. Photo credit: Getty.

With temperatures expected to soar across the country, humans won't be the only ones who will be feeling the heat. 

Plenty of water and shade can help animals avoid sunburn and dehydration in the hot weather, SPCA says.

NIWA meteorologist Chris Brandolino told the AM show there is "a distinct possibility" that temperatures in New Zealand could rise to more than 40 deg C for the first time this summer next Tuesday.

"Monday is going to be hot, but Tuesday is where the heat's going to be at its highest.

"I'm not going to promise [40deg C], but it's certainly a distinct possibility. I wouldn't say it's a likelihood, but it's in the conversation."

SPCA southern region general manager Barry Helem says animals can experience the same things as humans in the heat- dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion. 

"In the heat it is really, really important we manage animals carefully." 


Hot cars can kill 

One of the "biggest risks" animals face in extreme heat is being left in the car, he says.

"It is going to get very hot which means inside a car it can get up to over 30 degrees," he says. 

The average body temperature for a dog is 38.5C. He says while dogs sweat a small amount they rely on panting to cool down. 

Dogs can withstand hot body temperatures for a short time but panting is not enough to keep them cool, he says. 

Even cars with windows down or parked in the shade will also get "very hot" he says. 

"Unless people are taking their dogs to the beach, for a walk or to the vet then leave them at home."

Provide them with plenty of water and shade too, he says. 


Animals can get sunburnt and hot concrete burns too

What a lot of people don't know is that animals can actually get sunburnt, especially those with light or fair skin, Helem says. 

To avoid this, people you can buy pet-friendly sunscreen to rub on sensitive areas such as their pet's nose, the end of their ears and stomach and tips of their coat.

Hot concrete and pavements can also blister the pads of your pet's feet.

To check if the pavement is too hot for your pet, put your hand down on the pavement for around three seconds.  

If it is hot when you feel it - it is too hot for your pet to walk on.