Many animal lovers worry about an increase in unwanted pets appearing in animal shelters after Christmas, as the post-holiday excitement of a new pet subsides.
However, RSPCA NSW spokesperson Stefania Kubowicz has dismissed this common assumption.
‘’Contrary to popular belief, we don’t see an increase in surrenders after Christmas,’’ she said.
Instead, Ms Kubowicz points out other season-specific causes for a rise in animals arriving in RSPCA shelters.
‘’There are a variety of factors around the holiday period. You have people going away, you have fireworks that might spook dogs to run away,’’ she said.
Illawarra RSPCA shelter manager Judith Wright said she had seen similar trends in the Illawarra.
‘’The stray dogs from New Years to now has certainly increased dramatically,’’ she said.
Ms Wright asked owners travelling during the holidays to ensure their dogs were supervised by informed minders, especially during storms or firework displays.
‘’It’s also kitten season,’’ said Ms Kubowicz. ‘’Cats breed a lot more and so we have a relative amount of cats coming in as what is being adopted.’’
She also highlighted the influence of hot weather, as many dogs would leave home to seek out water if they weren’t provided with enough.
While the issue of increased animal surrenders during summer is overstated, the effects of heat certainly aren’t.
‘’The main thing is to remember that a lot of animals don’t have the same capacity to regulate their body temperature in the same way humans do,’’ Ms Kubowicz said.
Pet Insurance Australia emphasises the heat susceptibility of particular dog breeds such as Pugs and Bulldogs.
They advise extra measures be taken to ensure the safety of these breeds and other long-haired animals, like allowing pets indoors or clipping their fur.
The RSPCA also urged pet owners to get creative keeping their fury friends cool, such as freezing liquid treats like beef stock and letting cats sit on cooled tiles.
The organisation also advised pet owners to not take animals on unnecessary trips or leave them in hot cars.