Keep your pets cool in summer

Vets are warning people to take care of their pets through the hot summer months.

With above average temperatures predicted by Niwa for the remaining summer months, Dr Cath Watson, president of the the New Zealand Veterinary Association's Companion Animal Society, said people need to be aware of heat-related ailments that can strike their animals.

People should especially watch out for hot dogs, both inside cars and during exercise, Watson said.

On cars: "Even with windows slightly open, temperatures inside cars will soar."

On exercise: "Do it at an easy pace - if temperatures are in the 20s [degrees Celsius] or higher don't take your dog running," Watson said.

Excessive panting or exhaustion were signs dog owners should immediately stop exercising their pet and return them to shade and water.

Watson also advised the importance of sunscreen on animals.

"Pets need sunscreen too, especially on areas of skin with little or no hair like the nose, ears and on the belly," she said, noting animals were also susceptible to sun-related cancers such as melanoma.

Pet owners should also check with their local council for toxic algal blooms before allowing their pets to swim in lakes, rivers or streams.

Fairfax Media