Hot weather is a major concern and can lead to race meetings being rescheduled or abandoned.
Participants are reminded to keep abreast of ‘hot weather affected’ greyhound race meetings here in Victoria by visiting FastTrack.
In regards to ‘hot weather affected’ race meetings the following applies:
- Trainers may withdraw any of their greyhounds without penalty, prior to the appointed scratching time
- The use of barking muzzles is prohibited for both travel and kennelling
- Kennels will open 30 minutes earlier than normal
- Kennel temperatures will be monitored and recorded
- Cooling vests will be available at the catching pen.
To read GRV’s Hot Weather Policy please click here.
Greyhounds and hot weather
It is imperative to think about your greyhounds during hot weather.
Greyhounds have an optimal internal body temperature of 38.0 – 39.5°C. According to scientific literature, the air temperature of a greyhound’s environment should ideally be between 16°C -24°C to maintain the greyhound’s internal temperature without the greyhound having to use excess energy. Air temperatures outside this zone require dogs to use more energy to maintain their internal body temperature. It is therefore vital to maintain the internal temperature of greyhound kennel buildings and transport vehicles within the appropriate temperature zone, and this is particularly important on race days when excess energy expenditure can impact on race performance.
On warm and hot days, ensure your greyhounds:
- have ready access to lots of cool drinking water in non-spillable containers;
- have access to shade at all times when outside;
- have good air flow through kennel buildings and/or well insulated buildings;
- have covered or shaded concrete walkways to prevent burning of pads when walking greyhounds around properties/race tracks;
- have access to cooling vests for after exercise and racing or only exercise in the coolest parts of the day; **
- have access to airconditioned transport and ensure the internal transport vehicle temperature is below 300C at all times dogs are inside it;
- are monitored regularly; and
- have good air flow in trailers at all times; in high teens or low 20s temperatures, a trailer with only one whirly vent in the roof can be like an oven.
GRV has recently updated the Hot Weather Policy and Transport Policy regarding the management of race meetings, trials and transport where the forecasted air temperature is 32°C or above.
For more information visit the GRV’s Care and Standards webpage https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/policies-and-guidance/.
In addition to requirements in the Transport Policy, be aware that when the temperature is 24°C a closed vehicle in the sun can reach up to 35°C in 10 minutes and 50°C in 30 minutes.
** Cooling vests are available at all tracks. Cooling vests should only be used for a maximum of 60 minutes after first being put on; using them for longer can cause the vest to dry up and risk heat stroke.
The consequences of hot weather for a greyhound can be significant. For more information on heat stress and heat stroke click here.
Fire Season is coming – Get Prepared!
Hot, dry summers are common in Victoria and it is important to always get your fire plan ready in plenty of time. Spring is a good time to start. Avoid leaving things until the last minute. Start getting your property ready:
- Prepare or review your fire plan, including evacuation options; if you choose to take your greyhounds with you, contact your local Municipal Council to find out which of their evacuation centres will allow animals and add the address and details to your plan
- Remove doormats from around the house and kennel areas
- Move combustible outdoor furniture and other items from decks, up against, or under the home or your kennel area
- Move pot plants a few metres from the home or kennel area
- Double check that gas bottles are anchored securely with the relief valves pointing away from any flammable materials
- Mow your lawns or slash long grass in surrounding paddocks, yards, alongside slipping tracks etc
- On bigger properties, a clearing of about 10 metres of well-mown grass around your home and kennel block is advisable
- Walk around your home and remove piles of fine fuels such as leaves. It will probably be where embers will land
- Check your gutters to make sure leaves haven’t built up – check your home, kennels and other shedding
- Make sure you remove any fuels from around windows and doors. These are the most vulnerable parts of the home and kennel area
- Make sure trees on your property are healthy with no dead limbs and no vegetation underneath them
- Ensure your insurance is sufficient and current
- Prepare a greyhound evacuation kit, including, leads, muzzles, bedding, first aid kit, food and water bowls, 3 days of dry food and bottles of water. Make sure you include any medication your greyhound may need. Have your kit in a central location so it can be quickly loaded into your car
- If you have transport crates, ensure they are clean, in good working order and easy to access
- Practice your emergency evacuation plan at least once before the hot, dry weather arrives.
Note: The Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds requires every establishment to have emergency evacuation plans in place along with points of evacuation drawings (refer to your EHMP).
The Department of Agriculture has some excellent resources and advice on preparing your property and how to manage pets, horses and livestock during fires.