SPCA New Zealand

Keep your animals safe – SPCA urges owners to protect pets during heatwave

29 January 2019
Keep your animals safe – SPCA urges owners to protect pets during heatwave

​With record temperatures hitting New Zealand this week, SPCA are strongly urging pet owners to keep their animals safe.

The heatwave travelling across the Tasman will be bringing record temperatures to New Zealand, with parts of the country reaching well over 30 degrees.

SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says pet owners need to be extra vigilant, with the sweltering temperatures this week capable of causing severe injuries to animals, even death.

“Every summer we remind people to take care in the heat and to never leave a dog in the car, and every summer we still receive calls almost every day from people around the country, concerned about pets without shade, water, or locked in hot cars.”

“In a heatwave like this, 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.”

Last week SPCA Inspectors responded to a case in Northland where a dog had died due to overheating.

Two weeks ago, SPCA’s Wellington Centre had to smash a window of a vehicle. The dog was so distressed it was crawling in the footwell trying to find the closest piece of shade it could find, was drooling, and had urinated itself in distress.

Midgen, says it is absolutely heartbreaking to see frequent and totally preventable cases like these.

“Overheating can cause irreversible damage to an animal, and even kill them in a matter of minutes. The SPCA is often dealing with cases of animals that have suffered from overheating, and it’s really horrible to see it is all down to the fact their owners weren’t aware of how much hot days like these can affect them,” Midgen says.

Midgen says there are lots of simple steps owners can take this week, as well as during the rest of summer, to ensure their animals are comfortable and prevent unnecessary cases like these.

“Make sure they have adequate water and shelter, also consider giving them some ice to chew on. You can also try cooling them off with a wet towel or cooling mat,” she says.

“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.”

This includes excessive panting, breathing difficulties, weakness, or drooling, Midgen says.

“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 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,” Midgen says.

Anyone worried about an animal without water, with no access to shade, or locked in a hot car is encouraged to call their local SPCA immediately.

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