The State’s current cold snap, with temperatures dropping below zero in some regions, has prompted a reminder from RSPCA South Australia for pet owners to keep their animals safe and warm.
Short-coated, elderly, young, underweight and unwell animals are most at risk from exposure to the current icy temperatures, and should be kept indoors as much as possible.
RSPCA South Australia’s Rescue Team Leader, Nalika van Loenen, advised that owners who are unable to keep their pets indoors should ensure they have adequate shelter.
“If we’re inside with the heating on while our pets are being left outside, then it’s vital that they have access to shelter that’s off the ground and provides full protection from wind and rain,” Ms van Loenen said.
“A piece of old carpet and blankets will help ward off the cold.
“People must consider their pets’ comfort and welfare during these freezing times – animals are capable of suffering every bit as much as we are in this extreme cold.
“Some animals, such as old, arthritic dogs are especially vulnerable.
“Apart from a warm, dry bed, we recommend having a well-fitted winter jacket for older dogs and also short-coated dogs, that’s put on when going out for the daily walk.
“Take the jacket off your dog when he’s back inside, to avoid injury or irritation.”
Smaller pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and rats are also vulnerable in cold weather. Hutches and cages need to be protected from wind and rain, and the animals need plenty of clean bedding to burrow into, such as straw and shredded paper. Enclosures require daily maintenance to keep them clean and dry.
Donations of clean blankets for animals in RSPCA care can be made during opening hours
at the following locations:
RSPCA SA animal shelters – 25 Meyer Rd, Lonsdale; 22 Windsor Ave, Pt Lincoln; 7 Cook St, Whyalla
RSPCA PetVille – 345 North-East Rd, Hillcrest