Care for dogs in heat
By Dr Jeff Cave, district veterinary officer
IF YOUR dog regularly travels in the back of your ute, you need to take extra care to avoid exposing it to heat stress on very hot days.
Adequate shelter, for example a fixed canopy, needs to be provided to protect tethered dogs from climate extremes.
While it is legal to allow appropriately restrained dogs to travel on the back of utes, dogs left in the sun for long periods can easily suffer heat stress.
A lot of utes and tray backs these days are made of metal and will heat up quickly and could easily burn dogs’ paws, so consider covering the metal floors.
Ensure dogs kept in cages have adequate ventilation, particularly when the vehicle is not moving, and ensure all dogs are given regular access to cool water.
Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act requires dogs travelling in the back of utes, trailers or open tray trucks to be tethered or caged in a manner that prevents them from falling from the vehicle.
The only exemption is when dogs are actively moving stock.
The tether should only be long enough to permit the dog to stand, lie down and move about but not so long that it could potentially let the dog fall off the vehicle and be dragged or strangled.
Tethering dogs should always be regarded as a temporary, short term method of restraint.
For further advice please contact the RSPCA, your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer.
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