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As Britain battles a heatwave this week, animal welfare charities are urging pet owners and farmers to keep their animals cool in the summer heat.

RSPCA Cymru issued a warning after some areas of Wales reached 29C. High temperatures can be very uncomfortable, even dangerous, for our four-legged friends.

RSPCA Cymru superintendent Martyn Hubbard said, “There is a very serious side to keeping pets cool over summer as animals can suffer from heatstroke which could be fatal, especially if left in a hot car, conservatory or caravan.

“Pets may struggle to realise when they are too hot so make sure they have constant access to shade and don’t over exercise them in the heat. Remember if the pavement is too hot for your hand then it will be too hot for their paws.”

Some RSPCA centres have come up with ingenious ideas which you can use at home to keep pets cool, including freezing your dog’s water bowl or kong before putting water or treats in to keep them cooler for longer. Putting ice cubes in your pet’s bowl or making tasty ice cube treats can also help. Leaving damp towels for your pet to lie on or an ice pack wrapped in a towel can provide additional relief.

Advice for owners

Avoid exercising your dog during the hottest times of the day and aim to walk in the morning or evening when it is cooler. Pavements can get very hot which can damage your dog’s paws. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog.

Never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories or outbuildings in warm weather. Dogs can overheat very quickly and die if left in a hot environment.

Despite these warning, however, RSPCA is still receiving a number of calls for these incidents, including 167 calls on Monday alone. York police were forced to smash the windows of one car to save two dogs which had been trapped in the heat for 30 minutes. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, call 999.

Top tips for pet owners from RSPCA Cymru

Don’t let your pet get sunburnt – use pet-safe sun cream.
Ensure animals have access to shade and fresh drinking water.
Check every 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.
Wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel for your pet to lie on.
Use cold treats from the fridge for added moisture or make an ice lolly from pet-friendly ingredients.

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