18 January 2019
With very hot temperatures being experienced across the Territory, and particularly in Central Australia, pet owners should be mindful of the risk of heat stroke in dogs.
Department of Primary Industry and Resources Director Animal Welfare Peter Phillips said dogs should never be left in parked cars or direct sunlight.
“Locking dogs in cars and failing to provide appropriate shade and water can lead to heat stroke and constitutes animal cruelty,” Mr Phillips said.
“Temperatures inside a locked car can increase very quickly, even with the windows open, and dogs that are restrained in the back of a ute also need proper shade and access to water.
“A quick rise in temperature in a dog can cause dehydration and blood thickening, leading to brain damage, vital organ failure and even death. It takes less than 10 minutes for dogs to be affected by heat stroke.”
Signs of heat stroke in dogs include quick and frequent panting, distressed and agitated behaviour, weakness and muscle tremors, and disorientation or sudden collapse.
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, move it to a cooler area, offer cool (not cold) water, gently wet the coat using a hose or place a wet towel over the dog in the path of a fan, and seek prompt veterinary care.
“Even if your dog appears to have recovered, he or she may be dehydrated or have suffered other complications,” Mr Phillips said.
Heavy penalties can apply under the Animal Welfare Act if pets are harmed when left in vehicles or without adequate shade or water.
Animal welfare inspectors, which include Police, have the power to enter your vehicle with as much force deemed necessary to rescue a distressed animal.
There is information about caring for pets and being a responsible pet owner on the Northern Territory Government website – www.nt.gov.au/animalwelfare.
If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare or suspect or witness animal cruelty, report it to Animal Welfare on 1300 720 386.
Media contact: Conor Doherty 0438 455 536