Keep your pets cool this summer

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The hot weather can be dangerous for all pets. Dogs especially don't enjoy the heat - Credit: Getty Images

Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them or their much loved pet, yet every year many people still gamble with their dog’s life and every year dogs die in hot weather.

Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they are parked in the shade. The truth is it’s still very dangerous. The weather can change quickly and while not every dog left in this situation will die, at the very least, they are likely to experience distress, discomfort and anxiety. We only have to think ourselves of what it’s like in a hot car. Even on a spring day when the temperature outside doesn’t seem that hot, the temperature inside a car can quickly rise. Leaving a window open or leaving water isn’t enough and won’t stop a dog over-heating. Don’t take the risk – leave your beloved pet safe at home while you go shopping. 

If you see a dog in a car on a hot day: If you’re at a superstore/venue ask the staff to make an announcement on the tannoy to alert the owner to the situation. If the dog is showing any signs of distress – panting, drooling, appearing drowsy, uncoordinated, vomiting or collapsed, then dial 999 immediately. This is preferable to calling the RSPCA or other welfare organisation, since an RSPCA inspector may not be able to attend quickly enough. Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the Police deal with hundreds of such incidents each year.

Walking a dog in hot weather
Some people still take their dogs for walks well into the day or on hot afternoons, seeming not to realise that doing so can be very uncomfortable or even risky for their dog.
The RSPCA recommends walking a dog early in the morning before it’s hot or later in the evening once the day cools down, when the dog will not burn its paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke. As a guide, if the pavement is hot for the back of your hand, it is too hot for your dog and too hot for their paws. Signs of burned pads are:
· Limping or refusing to walk
· Licking or chewing at the feet
· Pads darker in colour
· Missing part of pad
· Blisters or redness

Tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather
· Never leave any animals in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans, even for a short while.
· Ensure pets always have access to shade and fresh drinking water.
· Ensure rabbits and other small animals are not in direct sunlight and have access to shade.
· Keep indoor captive birds out of direct sunlight. Ensure aviary birds have shaded areas.
· All birds need access to clean fresh water, both for drinking and bathing.

Go to for more advice on the summer care of animals. As well as tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather, the website also gives going on holiday advice for pet owners, whether you’re taking them with you, or finding a safe place for them while you’re away.