Dog under a shade

Pets and heatwaves in Australia: Make a safety plan today

A guide on how you can prepare a pet emergency plan


Just like us, our furry companions are at a huge risk during heatwaves and bushfires, and highly vulnerable to heat stress and heat stroke. Prepare a safety plan while also taking a few simple steps to keep them safe and comfortable.

Read below for how to plan for a bushfire and what to do during a heatwave for your pets.

plan ahead for a bushfire

  • Have a bushfire survival plan that involves your pets. 
  • Prepare your bushfire survival plan by downloading a template from and find a quick check list here. Your safety is of course central to this plan! You can’t help anyone if you’re not safe.
  • Pets, and especially large animals like horses take some extra logistical planning and time to move out of harm’s way. Make sure to keep up to date with fires as regularly as possible and think ahead. Ensure you have containment boxes and transport organised.

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during a heatwave

A good rule of thumb, if you need to be in an air-conditioned environment, your pets probably do too.




Keep your pets hydrated and shaded

Keep hydrated

If you’re heading out to work during a hot day, make sure your animals have plenty of water, shade and cool ventilated areas. 

Try to arrange a neighbour or pet sitter to check in on them.




Get creative with cooling packs

Ideas to cool off your pets

Get creative by putting your pet’s snacks in large homemade tubs of ice, put a paddling pool out in the garden, or leave wet cold towels around.




Never leave your dogs in the car

Never leave your pets in the car

Never leave dogs locked in the car, even with windows down and in the shade. 

Car temperatures can soar to lethal levels in minutes.





Walk your dogs early or late evening

Be careful with walking times

Be careful with walk times, especially for very young and old pets. Aim for early morning or later in the day.

For dogs with sensitive eyesight (e.g. cataracts), consider dog sunglasses.





Watch out for heat stress

Watch out for heat stress

Keep an eye out for heat stress in your pets. 

If your pet is highly lethargic, relentlessly panting, drooling, vomiting or collapsing, take them to a vet ASAP.





On extreme days, let your pets come indoors

On extreme days

Let your pets come indoors to stay safe in air-conditioned spaces or under a fan. If you’re not comfortable having them access the whole house, quadrant off a space for them and protect floors with old towels or cardboard boxes if this is of concern. 

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