Healthy living

Heat stress and your pets

Just like people, your pets can suffer from heat stress if they aren’t kept cool in hot weather.

The following tips will help protect your pets:

  • Whenever possible, bring your pets inside in very hot weather.
  • If your pets can’t be left inside, make sure there are sheltered, shady spots in the garden where your pet can rest. Check there will be shade at all times of day, as the shade moves depending on the position of the sun.
  • Don’t leave your pets in closed garden sheds or garages as these can heat up very quickly on a hot day.
  • Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water to drink and that it is not placed in the sun. Putting ice blocks in your pet’s water during the day will help keep it cool.
  • Consider having two drinking bowls in case one runs out of water or gets knocked over.
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food outside in the heat. If your pets do not eat their food when first given, bring it inside and put in the fridge until later.
  • If you have a dog, avoid walking it in the heat. Take it for a walk in the early morning or evening when it is cooler.
  • Don’t let your dog walk on hot surfaces (for example, pavements, bitumen roads or hot sand), as their paws are sensitive and can get burnt.
  • Never leave your pets alone in a car for any reason, even if the windows are partly open.

Signs of heat stress

Signs of heat stress in your pets include:

  • sweating
  • panting and drooling
  • your pet’s tongue hanging out.

If your pet shows signs of heat stress

  • Move it to a cool place and try to get it to drink water, even if you have to pour some into its mouth.
  • If your dog shows signs of being overheated, the best way to cool it off is to stand it in water up to its belly. Dogs will cool off faster this way than being sprayed with water.
  • Pay careful attention to very young or old pets as they can get stressed very quickly during hot weather.
  • If you are worried that your animal is suffering from the heat contact your vet immediately. This could save your pet’s life.


  • In hot weather make sure your pet has plenty of water and access to shade all day.


Disaster Preparedness Management Unit

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Information about a service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace professional advice. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified professional for answers to their questions.

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