Keep Your Pets Cool as Life Returns to Normal

Heatwave warning to pet owners ahead of Freedom Day (19 July) in England

The RSPCA is urging pet owners to keep their pets cool and safe as the weather hots up and lockdown ends.

Temperatures are due to climb this week and the animal welfare charity is issuing a reminder to pet owners to keep their pets safe.

RSPCA spokesperson and pet welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “Freedom Day (19 July) is fast-approaching in England and we’ll finally be released from lockdown restrictions so we can return to normal life. That means people will be out and about with their pets and, with the weather heating up, we want to make sure that everyone stays safe so we can all enjoy our freedom again.

“Please take care when you’re taking your dog for a walk or exercising your horse and avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day. Remember that pavements can get very hot and could burn your dog’s paws. If you’re planning an outing please check that the venue is dog-friendly. Never, ever leave your pet unattended in a stationary vehicle during warm weather.”

Nine-year-old husky cross Snowy, at RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre in Surrey, has been keeping cool by playing in her paddling pool (pictured above) while Nala has been playing with the hose (pictured below).

At the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre, in East Sussex, staff have been keeping the seals cool with hoses too.

Hot weather can pose risks for our pets, for farm animals, and for wildlife. Every year the RSPCA receives hundreds of reports of animals suffering from heat exposure, including dogs left in hot cars, pets with heat burns on their paws, dehydrated wild animals, grazing animals with no shade, and dogs over-exercised in the heat.

Seasonal advice: Summer

Dogs and horses need exercise, even when it’s hot, but you should avoid exercising them in excessively hot weather. Walk or ride in the morning or evening when it’s cooler and remember; if the pavement is too hot to touch with your hand then it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

If temperatures are set to soar in your region this week and you’re planning to spend time outdoors enjoying the sun try to avoid the temptation to take your dog with you. Spending prolonged periods of time in the sunshine without shade poses a really serious risk to your pet. It may be better to leave them at home for short periods.

Always ensure your pets or livestock have access to fresh drinking water and shady areas, and avoid transportation during hot weather. Ensure buildings housing animals are adequately ventilated and regularly monitored. Never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories or outbuildings in the warm weather; they can overheat and die if left in a hot environment, such as a car.

Top tips for pet owners in hot weather

  • Have a go at making some frozen dog treats to keep your pooch cool;
  • Watch our video on how to keep cats cool in hot weather;
  • Don’t let your pet get sunburnt – use pet-safe sun cream;
  • Ensure animals have constant access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times. For animals that are kept outside, remember that as the sun moves during the day so too does the shade. Somewhere that was shaded in the morning could be in full sun by the afternoon;
  • Keep guinea pigs cool and hydrated by making them a fresh vegetable treat;
  • Check small animals, poultry and other pets twice a day for flystrike;
  • Keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up water levels of ponds;
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife when using lawnmowers or strimmers;
  • Keep pesticides out of reach of animals;
  • For horses stabled during the day out of the heat, try making them our horse and pony boredom buster treat;
  • Wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel, or use damp towels for your pet to lie on;
  • Those with pet chickens can encourage them to stay in shaded areas by hanging up a homemade vegetable garland for chickens;
  • Use cold treats from the fridge for added moisture or make an ice lolly for your dog from pet-friendly ingredients:
  • Freeze your dog’s water bowl or kong, or add ice cubes to your pet’s bowl;
  • Fill a paddling pool or spray a hose for your dog to play in but always supervise them around water;
  • Leave a bowl of fresh drinking water in your garden for birds and other wildlife;
  • Snakes are most active in June and July so don’t be alarmed if you see one in the wild, most tend to shy away from people but beware adders when out walking dogs as an adder bite is venomous and could make your pet poorly.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.

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