With temperatures rising to the 40s this summer, we at Taronga Zoo are giving our animals some extra attention to help them cope with the heat. You, too, can help your pets feel comfortable with the warm weather by showing them some summer lovin’.
While our pets can attempt to keep themselves cool by sweating and panting, Dr. Vicky Melfi, Taronga Zoo’s Behavioural Biologist, says it is important that we help our animal friends cope with the sweltering summer heat.
Here are some simple ways to do this:
First, it is essential that we give our pets lots of water to keep them hydrated, since they are sweating most of the time.
Another way to keep our pets comfortable is to give them opportunities to find shade and put them in spaces where they can get a good amount of breeze. A special treat that our pets, dogs for example, may enjoy is a shallow paddling pool located in a shaded area.
And just as we crave cold treats this summer, Dr. Melfi recommends that we feed our pets some frozen meat and blood as these can be a cool enrichment for them. Water with ice blocks is also good, but Dr. Melfi advises giving our pets a bowl of ice blocks and another one with cold water. Since our pets might be new to having ice blocks, having two bowls can help them adapt to this change a bit easily.
Giving our dear pets a refreshing bath can also help them beat the heat. However, be careful about this as Dr. Melfi says that some animals might perceive putting them under direct water as a form of punishment. Instead, she suggests using water sprinkles, and making a game out of coaxing them into the water stream.
At Taronga many of our animals are given cooling showers, specially made iceblock treats and soft and misting machines are a favourite in the aviaries.
This summer season, do not forget to take care of your pets. They, too, want to keep themselves comfortable during the hot weather as much as you do.