Australians love their pets, with over 62% of households owning at least one. But the climate is a hot topic in Australia at the moment, and it’s an issue for our pets as well. The Australian conditions can range from temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius in the summer, down to below 0 degrees Celsius in some areas during winter. This broad temperature variance is something you should definitely consider when planning for your next pet.
Taking a closer look at the Australian climate
Different climatic zones exist throughout Australia, ranging from hot and humid with little to no water, to alpine climates. While northern states generally experience high temperatures, the southern states can experience snowfall. But as most of the country is dry and arid, there’s a high possibility you live in one of the hotter parts of Australia, with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Humans have the luxury of donning short sleeves to help combat the heat, but many of our pets are being exposed to this heat whilst wearing a fur or feather coat. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a pet owner, having a look into pets that are easy to keep in hotter climates or have evolved to adapt to the hotter conditions in Australia is a great idea to ensure you can provide the best care for them.
What pets are easy to keep in Australia?
Australia is home to many native reptiles, making them a perfect pet for our climate. Bearded Dragons, Shingleback Lizards, and Macquarie River Turtles are all native to Australia and popular choices of pet nation-wide. Scaly, slippery or curious, reptiles are fascinating creatures that can bond with their owners, just like other pets.
Native conditions can easily be replicated in a tank with adequate heating like the ones found here, water, and plants that would be common in their outside environment. But reptiles can have long lifespans, so it’s important to realize your scaly pet may live for the next 30 years or so and make sure you’re ready for the commitment.
An often overlooked pet, birds can come with big personalities that will have you in stitches over their antics. For example, the Australian Cockatoo is a very intelligent and bossy bird, often dancing or mimicking their owners.
Some of the most beautiful birds in the world, as well as the cheekiest, call Australia home. Rainbow Lorikeets, Magpies, and Rosellas can easily become a ‘part-time’ pet. Feeding wild birds from your home regularly will allow the birds to get to know you, and with some patience will keep returning.
If you’re considering an indoor bird, it’s a good idea to decide if you’d like to keep the birds in an aviary, or given them free-range to fly around the house, or a mix of both. Once you’ve worked out what will work for you and your new bird, make sure you have a good quality set up so your feathered friend has plenty of space to fly around, play and interact with you and the family.
Dogs and cats
Topping the list for the most popular pets are cats and dogs, but not all these furry friends are created equally for the Australian climate. For example, some species of dogs develop a certain type of fur to insulate them in colder climates, so you can imagine this could become quite uncomfortable in summer for these animals.
The Australian Cattle Dog or ‘Blue Heeler’ comes in at 10th in Australia’s most popular dog breeds and it’s easy to see why. Stocky, short-haired and intelligent, these pups are built to not only thrive in the Australian climate but work in it too.
Cats of all breeds always seem to love the warmer weather, finding patches of sun to lay in. Longer haired breeds can overheat without adequate cooling and access to water, and it’s important to always bring your cat inside at night so they don’t attack any native wildlife.
Being aware of heatstroke
Heatstroke is a major concern for all pets in Australia, and as temperatures rise, slip slop and slapping for your pets becomes just as important as it is for you. Providing adequate shade for your pet (whether indoors or outdoors), access to constant drinking water, and avoiding excessive exercise during the warmer months will save your pet from heatstroke. It’s also important to keep an eye on their behaviour; if they exhibit symptoms like excessive panting or heavy breathing or dizziness make sure to take them to a vet immediately.
Lighter colored animals should have pet sunscreen applied to their noses and ears to protect them from sunburn and cancers. If you walk your animal, test the temperature of the ground you’re walking on, as hot concrete can cause your pet to suffer burns and pain. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.
Final reminders for choosing a pet
Australia enjoys a variety of weather, and when choosing a pet, it’s important to think about the climate. Hotter temperatures can mean certain animals, such as those with thicker fur or those built specifically for cooler climates, can become quite uncomfortable during the summer months.
Whichever pet you decide on, the responsibility to keep them comfortable is up to you. If you’re hot, they’re probably feeling much hotter, so ensure you can provide a comfortable home with adjustable heating and constant access to freshwater. Keeping your furry, feathered or scaled friend happy will lead to many years of companionship for you both.