Pet owners are being urged to protect their furry friends from heat and bushfires, with the mercury set to soar in most states over the coming week.
Victoria is forecast to experience some of the nation's highest temperatures, with most days in excess of 40C.
The weather could prove fatal for some cats and dogs, vets are warning, as the animals are unable to maintain their normal body temperatures.
"If unattended, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke and sometimes prove to be fatal," said Dr Alan Bolton, senior veterinarian at Frank Samways Clinic.
He has urged pet owners to monitor the weather and their pets, with animals suffering heat exhaustion likely to pant excessively, salivate and become increasingly agitated.
A vet should be consulted immediately if pets show any of these signs, or starts vomiting.
Dr Bolton says pet owners should not leave their dogs and cats unattended during hot weather for extended lengths of time.
"Try to stay at home or have someone at home with your pet to keep an eye on how they're going," he said.
"Have fresh, cold water and shade available at all times or bring them inside into an air-conditioned environment."
If pets do overheat, owners can cool them with lukewarm water and wrap them in wet towels.
Dr Bolton urged people not to use very cold water but to consider leaving a pillowcase filled with ice near a pet or on their bedding.
"Most importantly, do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle," he added.
Pet owners are also being urged to include their pets in their bushfire survival plan.
"This includes planning for the safety and survival of your pets whether they are at home with you or brought along on holidays in bushfire prone areas," said Sue Conroy, general manager of shelter operations at The Lost Dogs' Home.