Humidity plays a crucial role in pet transportation, often overshadowing temperature. When relocating pets from Southern to Northern Australia, understanding humidity patterns becomes essential. Here’s why:
Regional Variation in Humidity:
During summer, the average humidity is lowest in the southern regions of Australia. However, in the northern states, it reaches its peak.
For instance, Adelaide & Melbourne experience their least humid months in January & February, with an average february afternoon relative humidity (RH) of 36% in Adelaide and 45% in Melbourne.
In contrast as we move further north Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, and Darwin all register their most humid months in February and March. The average February afternoon RH in these cities being: Sydney (62%), Brisbane (58%), Townsville (76%), Cairns (71%), and Darwin (74%). However in the most northern areas muggy afternoons of 90-99% RH are common throughout summer.
Health Implications for Pets:
Typically the comfortable humidity range for Dogs & Cats is between 30-70%, similar to the comfort range for us. But this comfort band can be higher in cooler climates and lower in hotter climates. Any combination of high humidity and elevated temperatures can significantly impact your pets’ well-being during relocation. However it’s less well known that high humidity alone can have the same health impacts on at risk animals even in more moderate temperatures. The risk of heat stress or heat stroke is highest on high humidity days. While not all pets are equally affected, certain regular factors come into play:
- Brachycephalic Breeds: These flat-faced breeds (like Bulldogs and Pugs) are particularly vulnerable to heat stress following temperature & humidity changes due to their compromised respiratory systems.
- Older and Overweight Pets: They struggle more in extreme conditions.
- Chronic Health Conditions: Pets with existing health issues are at higher risk.
- Mastiffs & larger breeds: Larger dogs, especially breeds originaly from cooler climates may be more heavily affected than smaller breeds
Air Travel vs. Road Transport:
Air travel may expose pets to rapid shifts in humidity because within hours, they can travel between low and very high humidity regions. Road transport takes longer, spanning days rather than hours and while for some pets a shorter flight is preferable, others may adapt and cope better with a more gradual climate change over several days during road trips.
It can take up to 60 days for Pets to fully acclimatise from one climate to another and this should be an important consideration in any decision to relocate your pets from southern Australia to the far north, especially for the higher risk pets mentioned above. High risk pets should be moved north during the winter when the southern states humidity is at its highest and the northern states are at their lowest wherever possible.
Air Conditioning: Cool Comfort, Hidden Risks
Clearly, having northbound animals travel in Air Conditioning where possible makes the trip more comfortable for most and can be essential for others. But Air Conditioning carries hidden risks. AC artificially reduces the humidity to very low levels and stops any chance your pet may have of partly acclimatising during the northbound trip, presenting greater risks upon delivery. Travelling in AC also increases the risk of some animals experiencing heat shock when being removed from our vehicles for comfort stops on hot days, even for short periods, due to the sudden change in both humidity & temperature. Where AC is used by us during transport it is cafefully managed to achieve a comfortable level (typically not below 27 degrees on hotter days) rather than a cold temperature.
Our Pet Relocation Services
Dogmovers operate regularly scheduled trips throughout Eastern Australia including fortnightly road based services between the southern states and north QLD. Our services from South Australia to Brisbane take 3 days, but for animals travelling further north we typically have a 3 day acclimatisation break in Brisbane before they travel further into northern QLD. From Melbourne we do have more direct services taking 3-4 days to northern QLD, but we can also arrange a 3 day acclimatisation break in Brisbane where it is advisable for your pets.
Dogmovers: A Trusted Choice
Dogmovers Pet Transport has been operating for 31 years since 1993 and under its current management for 20 years. Dogmovers grew as a Queensland based business and is not only the longest serving road based Pet Transport business in Australia but the only Pet Transporter with a long history of operating in Northern & Western Queensland’s more demanding conditions.
If you are considering relocating high risk pets such as Brachycephalic breeds, Mastiffs, senior pets or those that are overweight or have chronic health conditions from southern to northern Australia, please ask us for more information so we can help assess the best transport solution for your pets. This may simply involve making more detailed info about your pets condition available to our drivers & other staff. But we may also recommend travel on our premium services, an extended break mid trip at one of our facilities in NSW or Brisbane, request a pre-travel vet check or in extreme cases advise that the risks are too high and that your pet should only travel in winter.
Remember, prioritizing your pets’ well-being during relocation ensures a smoother transition. 🐾🌿