No one likes to be sunburnt or trapped in a swelteringly hot car. For us humans, no problem: simply lather on a coat of sunblock, or wind down the window. Sadly, our furry friends don’t have the opposable thumbs necessary to make all this happen on their own. It’s up to us to watch their backs this summer, so New Zealand's SCPA have released a few tips on how.
SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says dogs being left in cars is an issue they deal with every summer. On a hot day, the inside of a car heats up like a toaster oven. Just think back to when to you and your mates last piled into the car after a day at the beach, and the heat was unbearable. Someone in the back is yelling “turn on the bloody air-con!”, and the rest of you are scrambling to wind down your windows and avoid scorching yourselves on the burning-hot seat-belt buckle.
Leaving a dog in this situation is super dangerous and can be fatal—and a slightly ajar window isn’t helping much at all. But if your dog's wellbeing isn’t enough to convince you, maybe a $300 fine will. In October MPI introduced new animal welfare regulation that means you can be fined if you are caught leaving your doggo in the car long enough for it to become heat-stressed.
If you need to take your dog in the car, the SPCA recommends taking some fresh water and always take them when you leave.
Sun damage is as much a concern for pets as it is for us. Their fur provides some protection, but your pets need sunblock applied every three-to-four hours in areas that have little or no hair: ears, noses and stomachs are hot spots for sunburn.
Just like humans, animals aren’t fans of warm water that has been sitting around for days. Make an effort to always have fresh water that is under shade, or you could even chuck some ice in to help keep it chilled for longer.
Make sure your pet has access to shady spots all day, keeping in mind the sun moves around so one small spot might not do.
Lastly, scorching hot sand, pavements and asphalt can burn and blister your dog's feet. Youch. To see if it’s safe to stroll, do a quick check by holding the back of your hand down on the sand for five seconds. If it's too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.