The SPCA is calling out all pet owners to take extra care of their animals during the hot weather.
Across the country this week, temperatures have been reaching over 30 degrees, and SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says that heat can harm the health of animals.
“Every summer we remind pet owners to take extra care in the heat and to never leave a dog in the car. But every summer we still receive calls almost every day from people around the country, concerned about pets without shade, shelter, water, or locked in hot cars.
“A heatwave like this can be a life or death situation for your pets and I’m urgently appealing to all pet owners to please listen when we say: don’t leave your dog in a hot car, please keep your animals safe during the summer months. It is never worth it.”
In the last two weeks, the SPCA has received and responded to cases where a dog had died in a hot car in Northland, horses were found wearing heavy rugs in Canterbury and kennels recorded reaching temperatures between 51 and 60 degrees with little shelter.
Andrea says pet owners need to be more aware and conscious of how damaging the heat can be.
“Overheating can cause irreversible harm to an animal, and even kill them in a matter of minutes. SPCA is responding to cases of animals not being cared for in this heat, and in more serious cases, suffering from heat stress.
“This is completely preventable and owners need to know how much a hot day can affect their animals.”
The SPCA advises all pet owners to take their simple advice on board.
“Make sure they have ample water and shelter, also consider giving them some ice in their indoor bowl. You can also try cooling them off with a wet towel or cooling mat.
“It’s important to really pay special attention to your pet and how they are feeling. If they seem reluctant to go for a walk, don’t force them to. And look out for signs of overheating.”
Andrea says the simplest signs of animals overheating include loud panting, difficulty breathing, weakness or drooling.
“My key message for anyone going out with their pets this week is to consider: would you put yourself or your family through these conditions? If it’s too hot for you to walk along the sand on the beach or on the pavement it will be too hot for your animals. If you can’t bear to sit in the car for 10 minutes, neither can your animals.”
The SPCA urges anyone to contact them if they believe an animal’s health is at risk due to the high temperatures.