You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

NT pet owners warned of heatstroke threat

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

It can take six minutes for an animal to die from severe heat exhaustion, so Northern Territory owners are being urged to look out for their furry friends this festive season.

As temperatures rise in the Top End this holiday period, the Northern Territory government has warned pet owners to watch for heatstroke.

Locking pets in cars or failing to provide adequate shade and water amounts to animal cruelty, and heavy penalties can apply if they're harmed, Ronald Hutcheson, Director of Animal Welfare with the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources says.

"Temperatures inside a locked car can increase very quickly - it can take six minutes or less for an animal to suffer severe heat exhaustion and die," he said.

Mr Hutcheson said pets can overheat even when the windows are down or the car is in the shade during the Territory's steamy wet season.

If animals are in the back of a ute, they also need proper shade and water, he added.

Dogs don't sweat, so they can't tolerate high temperatures.

They pant to exchange warm air for cool air, but when the air temperature is close to the dog's body temperature, panting does not keep them cool and heatstroke can occur.

Mr Hutcheson said pets may also be stressed at this time of year by loud noises, including thunderstorms and celebratory fireworks.

Dogs have acute hearing, so explosions sound louder to them, as do high frequencies such as shrieks and whistles inaudible to humans.

Animals may be frightened by loud noises and run away, so ensure you pet is secure and has a microchip.

"Consider putting your pet in a travel crate in a quiet area, with curtains closed, air conditioning on, and soothing music playing," Mr Hutcheson said.

SIGNS OF PET HEATSTROKE:

* Difficulty breathing or sudden rapid breath

* A blank or anxious stare

* Excess salivation

* Increased heart rate

* Abnormally red gums and tongue

* Vomiting

* Weakness

* Disorientation or sudden collapse

FIRST AID FOR PET HEATSTROKE:

* move the pet to a cooler area immediately

* Immerse, cover, or rub pet with cool water to lower its body temperature

* Seek veterinary care - even if your pet appears to be recovering it may be dehydrated or have other complications

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon