26 June 2023

RSPCA WA is urging pet owners to check on their furry friends, with overnight temperatures plummeting this week. 

Last winter, calls to the Cruelty Hotline about animals without proper shelter leapt by a whopping 74 per cent compared to the three months prior.  Meanwhile, reports of animals without sufficient food or water spiked 14 per cent.

RSPCA WA’s inspectors are currently fielding, on average, 17 reports a day about suspected animal cruelty and neglect. Meanwhile, sick and suffering pets continue to flood into the charity’s Malaga shelter.

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.

For more pet care tips, visit kb.rspca.org.au