dogs will need looking after in the heatwave

As another heatwave approaches, with temperatures set to soar over 30 degrees this Friday in some parts of the country, the RSPCA is offering advice on how to keep pets cool and comfortable.

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 from pavements, dehydrated wild animals after water supplies have dried up, grazing animals with no shade, and dogs over-exercised in the heat”.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gainessays, “Though many of us will be looking forward to this week’s spell of sunny, hot weather, it is really important we make sure to plan how we’ll keep our pets cool and comfortable this week.”

She added, “We’ve all experienced a very challenging time with lockdown, and as measures have eased it will be tempting during the hot weather this week for us to want to spend lots of time outside with our families and take our pets, but taking our dogs out with us for walks or to the park could really put them at risk of suffering heat stroke or exhaustion.

“It’s really important that we take extra special care of our pets and wildlife during this extremely hot weather.”

Heat stroke can be fatal to dogs, and they should never be left unattended in cars, least of all during a heatwave; exercise should also be reduced or avoided in the hottest hours of the day. When walking dogs keep in mind that pavements can get very hot – so if it’s too hot to touch with your hand, it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

RSPCA’s 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.

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