WARNING: The RSPCA are urging residents to make sure their animals have access to plenty of water and shade during the hot days.
WARNING: The RSPCA are urging residents to make sure their animals have access to plenty of water and shade during the hot days. Thinkstock

RSPCA swamped with calls about pets suffering heat stress

PET owners are being reminded to be extra vigilant with their beloved four-legged friends during the warmer weather after the RSPCA were swamped with calls from people reporting animals suffering from heat stress.

RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said staff were alarmed with the high number of pets who have been in distress.

"In the past week, we've had 28 hot animals in car jobs, 62 jobs with regarding animals with little or no shade and shelter and 110 with insufficient water," he said.

"These numbers are horrifying. Some people are simply not listening.

"If it's 30 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can potentially rise to well over 40 degrees in less than five minutes.

"We tested a light coloured sedan and the temperatures rose to 57 degrees in 12 minutes. Any animal left inside would have been dead."

Dogs who are left in backyards while their owners go to work can also be in danger.

"A dog can survive for days without food, but in these temperatures, if they don't have shade or can't reach water they'll die," Mr Beatty said.

"A rope or a chain can easily become entangled in furniture of plants and that can be fatal.

"It's far better to make the yard or courtyard secure and then it won't be necessary to tether the dog in the first place.

"We would also recommend that there are at least two to three containers of water in case one gets knocked over.  

It's the tethering of dogs that has given RSPCA Qld North Brisbane Inspector Sharni Statham the most grief in the last few days.

"I've been attending about six calls a day in regard to dogs being tethered and not being able to reach shade or water," she said.

"At one property a dog that had no history of escaping or aggression was tethered outside the house in an area where it couldn't reach any shade or the veranda. It died."

In another tragic case, RSPCA Qld's Bundaberg Inspector Penny Flaherty was called to a house where a dog had become entangled in the clothes line. It too died.

Dogs don't sweat, so cooling down occurs through panting, lying on a cool surface and drinking cool water.

Signs of heat stress in your pet can include relentless panting, drooling, agitation, restlessness, very red or pale gums, bright red tongue, increased heart rate, breathing distress, vomiting and diarrhoea, possibly with blood.

If an animal has heat stress, prompt action is needed if a positive outcome is to be achieved. First aid measures should be applied quickly and the animal must then be transported to a veterinarian immediately. Never transport an animal while they are still hot.

Cooling them down first is essential. Bathing the animal in cool (not cold) water is one of the best ways to cool them down, or apply ice packs to the groin and underarm area, or place them in front of a fan or in an air-conditioned room.

The animal should also be offered cool, fresh water to bring their temperature down.

Once the animal is cool always take them to the vet as they may have internal damage from the heat stress.

If you see an animal in distress, contact the RSPCA's 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL.      



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