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As the temperatures around the capital soar, RSPCA has warned pet owners of the importance of responsible animal care during extreme weather. While people can keep cool at swimming pools and through use of air conditioning, pets are reliant on their owners to ensure that they are given adequate water and shelter from the sun. 

“With temperatures expected to reach the high thirties this week we are asking everyone with a pet to assess their backyard, ensuring their pets will be kept cool with plenty of available water, shade and protection from the sun.” said RSPCA ACT Acting CEO Jane Gregor.

RSPCA also reminds members of the public to never leave their pets unattended in a vehicle. “It can take just six minutes for a dog to die if left in a hot car.” said Jane.

“Not only are domestic pets affected by the extreme heat but also livestock and wildlife.” “Recently thousands of fruit bats died as a result of extreme weather.” Jane says. Canberrans should be warned if they do find a heat-affected bat that under no circumstances should they pick it up but immediately contact RSPCA ACT 02 6287 8100 or ACT Wildlife on 0432 300 033.

There are many ways you can help your pets beat the heat. All pets should have multiple sources of clean, fresh water in case one is overturned. Older animals are particularly vulnerable to heat stress and should even be left inside on very hot days with air-conditioning or a fan to help keep them cool.

Don't walk dogs in the heat of the day - the best time is between 6am and 7am or very late in the day.

Rabbits and guinea pigs can suffer from heat stress quite easily, so ensure that they are in constant shade, their water drip is functioning properly. You can also put frozen water bottles in their cage for them to cool down on.

If you do think your pet is suffering from heat stress - cover them in a wet towel, put them in a cool area and consult your veterinarian immediately.

People wishing to know more about animal care and the work of RSPCA should contact RSPCA ACT in Weston Creek or call 6287 8100.

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