RSPCA offer advice for pet owners as heatwave continues

The RSPCA is advising pet owners to keep their animals cool and safe as the heatwave continues this week.

The advice comes as the charity received more than one call an hour during the first week of the heatwave (Monday 24 June – Sunday 30 June). 

Over those seven days, the charity – which operates in England and Wales – took 262 reports of animals and heat exposure.

The RSPCA’s call operators dealt with 83 reports of dogs left in hot cars, five calls related to dogs locked in baking conservatories and five reporting dogs tethered outside with no access to shade or water.

RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “All animals can suffer in the heat and its extremely concerning to see how busy our lives have been in the last week with concerns for animals during the heatwave.

It’s really important that we take extra special care of our pets during extremely hot and extremely cold weather and take a few steps to ensure they’re happy and healthy.”

With temperatures due to remain in the 20s this week, the RSPCA is reminding the public how to help pets, livestock and wildlife during the summer weather.

Seasonal advice: summer

Dogs and horses need exercise even when it’s hot, but the RSPCA says you should avoid exercising them in excessively hot weather. Experts advise walking or riding in the morning or evening when its cooler. When walking dogs keep in mind that pavements can get very hot in warm weather – if it’s too hot to touch with your hand, then it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

Never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories or outbuildings in the warm weather. Dogs – and other pets – can overheat and die if left in a hot environment, such as a car.

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.

Farm animals should have access to shaded areas and clean drinking water. Transportation of animals in hot weather should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. If animals are housed during hot weather, buildings must be adequately ventilated and monitored regularly.

Top tips for pet owners in hot weather

  • Don’t let your pet get sunburnt – use pet-safe cream
  • Ensure animals have access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times
  • Check every day for flystrike
  • Keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up water levels of ponds
  • Keep pesticides out of reach of animals
  • Wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel, or use damp towels for your pet to lie on
  • Use cold treats from the fridge or added moisture or make an ice lolly from pet-friendly ingredients
  • Freeze your dog’s water bowl or ad ice cubes to your pet’s bowl
  • Fill a paddling pool or spray a hose for your dog to play in buy always supervise them around water.

Visit the RSPCA website for more seasonal summer advice and, if you’re concerned for the welfare of any animal you can call the 24-hour hotline on 0300 1234 999.