14 June 2024

RSPCA WA is urging pet owners to check on their furry friends, after Perth recorded it’s coldest morning of the season on Thursday with the temperature dropping to 7.9 degrees.

With more rain forecast for the weekend, the organisation is encouraging pet owners to ensure their pets have warm, dry places to sleep and adequate cover from cold, wet conditions when outside.

Last winter, calls to the Cruelty Hotline about animals without proper shelter leapt by a whopping 50 per cent from March to June.

RSPCA WA Inspector Manager Kylie Green said owners must take steps to keep their pets safe during winter.

“If there is a cold wind and your dog or cat is wet from the rain, their body temperature can drop extremely quickly, causing health concerns such as hypothermia,” she said.

“Older or very young pets, like puppies, as well as animals with existing medical issues are particularly vulnerable in cold weather.

“When cold weather is forecast, the best option is to bring your pets indoors, even if that’s just into the laundry.

“If your animals are outside, they should have proper shelter where they can escape the rain and wind, plus somewhere warm and dry to sleep.”

Ms Green said many factors impacted how much an individual pet might feel the cold, including weight, age, size, health, and coat type.

“Double-coated breeds like huskies, Samoyeds and Aussie shepherds will be able to cope pretty well in most Aussie climates. But, as a rule of thumb, if you’re feeling the cold, then your pet likely is too,” she said.

“If your dog is shivering, tucking their paws in close to their body, or lifting them off the ground, they’re uncomfortably cold. If they’re sleeping curled up in a tight ball, they may benefit from a few extra blankets.”

Winter safety tips:

  • Always ensure outdoor pets have proper shelter and a place to sleep away from the elements.
  • For small animals, where possible, keep indoors, as their body temperatures can drop dangerously low in cold weather.
  • For horses, some require extra warmth and protection, so rug horses according to age, breed, type of exercise and the climate.
  • Farm animals should be able to move from their paddocks into three-sided shelters to escape the cold, rain, and wind. Chickens will need extra bedding to keep them warm.