The RSPCA has urged pet owners and farmers to keep their animals cool in the summer heat as temperatures rocket to 30C in some parts of England and Wales this week.
The animal welfare charity is issuing advice after a surge in calls relating to animals and heat exposure last month. The charity’s 24-hour emergency line received 1,606 calls in July – that’s two every hour or more than 50 a day – from concerned members of the public reporting dogs shut in hot vehicles, farm animals out in the heat, and horses without shade.
There have been more than 5,700 calls so far this year (January 1 – August 21) regarding animals exposed to the heat, more than 90% of which came from people concerned for dogs left in cars, vans, caravans and conservatories on warm days.
Meanwhile, the charity has also received a number of calls relating to other animals struggling in the heat including cats, rabbits, horses and farm animals.
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 it’s cooler. When walking dogs keep in mind that pavements can get very hot in the 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 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.
The RSPCA relies on public donations to exist. To assist our Inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).