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With hot days and dry conditions already upon us and a long hot summer ahead, your four-legged friends will need all the help they can get in keeping their cool over Summer. Pets require many of the same conditions that we humans need: a shady spot to spend the day, access to cool water and plenty of rest. They also require gentle exercise in the coolest parts of the day and a dab of pet-friendly sunscreen on pink noses if they are out in the hot sun.

Whether your pets are spending time indoors or outdoors this summer, remember that they need special care at this time of year.

"Apart from the obvious like ensuring our Spoodle has shade and plenty of drinking water, we have Parry's hair clipped short in summer. With his woolly coat he really feels the heat. We also keep a close eye on the rabbit. There's no doubt he is less active during the heat of the day and also need a lot more water in summer," said Amanda Jones, owner of 5 year old Parry and 2 year old rabbit Pewter.

The Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS) recommends the following tips to help you and your pet enjoy the long hot summer ahead.

· One of the best activities for you and your dog during summer is a walk in the cooler evening so find out from your local council where the best parks and open spaces are for dogs during summer. There can be restrictions during this period that don't apply during the rest of the year, so it is worth checking for the latest information.

· Most dogs love water but with restrictions in force in many parts of Australia, you will have to be careful about splashing the wet stuff around. Many dogs love ice cubes and this is a water-efficient way of keeping them cool.

· If you are away from home during the day and can't leave your pet indoors, ensure they have a shady spot outside with plenty of fresh water.

· Some dogs just don't know when to say no, so if you have an active dog it may be necessary to discourage high energy play on hot days.

· Keeping your dog's coat short and well-groomed during summer will help it to stay cool.

· Summer thunderstorms can be a terrifying experience for both dogs and cats. Ideally, your dog and cat should be kept inside with human company if there is a summer storm. Some dogs are very fearful in storms and may try to escape the yard, so take time to ensure your yard is secure and that your dog is identified with a collar and tag. In severe cases of storm phobias, your veterinarian should be consulted.

· We all know not to leave a dog in a car on a hot day - even with a window down, cars get very hot. Garden sheds and other small spaces also heat up quickly and can be dangerous if a dog is confined to that area.

· We may not all know that swimming pools can be as dangerous to dogs as they can be to small children. Make sure the gate is closed at all times. Better still, take your four-legged friend to a dog-friendly beach, river or lake and teach it to swim!

· Many people take advantage of school holidays and warm weather to get away and there are an increasing number of holiday destinations that welcome pets.

· If traveling with your pet, consult with your vet about any special requirements. Ticks can be found in many of the popular coastal holiday spots and can be dangerous to dogs. Also make sure all vaccinations are up to date and your pet's ID tags are securely fastened to their collar.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 13/11/07 00:28 Views: 2850

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