A DISTRESSED, panting or blatantly uncomfortable pet out in the sun urgently needs help.
RSPCA Mackay regional inspector David Ferrar too often encounters dogs tied to poles outside of shopping complexes and medical centres.
In some cases, an expected minute-long dash inside can easily turn into a long time for an animal in the hot sun, causing them pain.
Hundreds of canines are unnecessarily put at risk of heatstroke each year, just by being left tethered without water or shade.
Inspector Ferrar said death had been a result recently.
"It was on a private residence," he said.
"The dog had been tethered for a lengthy period of time, without water, and was directly in the sun.
"Tying up a dog outside in the sun, or even leaving an animal in a car, is practically a death sentence."
Northern Beaches veterinarian Paul McGeown said the number of animals admitted, suffering from heatstroke, could reach up to about 20 each month.
Heatstroke can cause brain damage, kidney or lung failure, ulceration of the stomach or intestines, muscle damage, swelling of the upper airways and bleeding disorders, as well as death, depending on the severity of the animal's condition.
Inspector Ferrar's tips to keeping your pet safe outside included tethering around shade and with a heavy, secured bowl of water nearby.
"You need to make sure they can't get tangled onto a table or legs of chairs, because then they can't reach their water," he said.
"As an inspector, we have legislative powers to enter to provide food and water and to untangle an animal.
"If there is a situation which could include injury or death, like in a vehicle, we can also enter."
A mindful message from Inspector Ferrar: be the dog owner your dog would like you to be.
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