Alex Casey scours the internet for the top tips to keep your pets cool in this horrendous heatwave.
I don’t know about your cats, but mine are pissed off. Zelda in particular. Where her brother Link, cold-blooded Prince of Darkness, spends his blistering summer days lying in the hot water cupboard like the anarchic goth that he is, Zelda chooses to sprawl directly in front of us, actively trying to look as nearly-dead as possible. It’s a guilt trip, and one that we wholeheartedly deserve. I’m sorry Zelda – it’s fucking hot and it’s all our fault.
As New Zealand sizzles with the highest recorded temperatures in years, spare a thought for the poor blighters wearing permanent fur coats who can’t read morbid listicles about how to sleep in the heat and don’t even have any thumbs to hold their rare grapefruit FruJus. “Overheating can cause irreversible damage to an animal, and even kill them in a matter of minutes,” says SPCA CEO Andra Midgen. “This is completely preventable and owners need to know how much a hot day can affect their animals.”
Folks, the animals of New Zealand are going to be hot as all holy hell this week, so here are some things that you can do to keep them cool.
- You’ve heard of Schmackos, but what about Schmackos… on ice? FruJus might be out of the question, but the SPCA website suggests freezing your dog’s favourite treat in water for a ice lolly surprise.
- Remember to test the temperature on the footpath and/or sand: if it’s too hot for your palms after three seconds, it’s too hot for your pooch’s paws. Try to walk them first thing at the morning before the sun starts searing, or later in the evening.
- You wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a handbag, you wouldn’t sit in a scorching hot car for 10 minutes in the middle of the day. “A heatwave like this can be a life or death situation for your pets,” says the SPCA’s Midgen. “Please listen when we say: don’t leave your dog in a hot car. It is never worth it.”
- Just like the sexiest of us humans, dogs primarily sweat through their feet. Bow down like the servant you are and moisten their paws with a cool rag, before misting their faces with some fresh, chilled Evian. You are not worthy.
- Buy a kids paddling pool and/or a miniature gold bikini for your dog to enjoy the spoils of a Vegas pool party – just make sure it’s small enough for them to get in and out of with ease.
- You may feel the need to free your woolly pooch of their luscious coat, but it’s doing gods work against protecting them from sunburn. Speaking of sunburn, buy a pet-friendly sunblock (no zinc oxide) for noses and ears.
- Zelda likes it when I run a can of chilled Coke Zero across her tummy; I’m sure this would also work well with full sugar beverages. If cold cans don’t fly, try a cold flannel or towel around the torso.
- Cats like to nap in the heat, so don’t freak out if they are even snoozier than usual.
- Sprinkle ice in their water bowls and place more water containers around the house than usual – the further away from their food bowls, the better. If they prefer running water, tell them to snap out of it – we’ve got a planet to save goddamnit.
- You can buy pet cooling pads from Kmart for pretty cheap, but AS IF your snooty cat is going to sit on that.
- It may be their actual living nightmare, but try to brush your cats more often in the heat to avoid any matting.
- Just like dogs, leave the play time for first thing in the morning or the early evening. If you walk your cat on a leash, remember to check the footpath temperature on your palms. Also, teach me your ways.
OTHER LITTLE CREATURES
- Everyone’s starting a new diet this time of year, so boost the meals for your rabbit or guinea pig with vegetables higher in water like apples and celery. Very “Gwyneth”.
- We stan a shady queen. Move their enclosure under trees if you can, or set up a sunshade or a large umbrella to serve some beach glam, Jaws-dad-on-the-beach realness.
- Ceramic tiles (kept in the shade) are also very good at keeping tiny critters cool and very easy to clean. And when the heatwave is over: mosaic time, baby.
- If you need to further ventilate their enclosure, boost em up with some concrete blocks to get the air flowing underneath. Alternatively, bring them inside and onto the bathroom or kitchen tiles to give your chilled out entertainers and even more chilled out stage.
- If you wanted to get all The Block on it, you can also chuck some icepacks against the walls of their enclosure, or a wet towel draped over for them to lean against as they need. Just don’t tell Peter Wolfkamp.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed, free daily curated digest of all the most important stories from around New Zealand delivered directly to your inbox each morning.