Scarborough RSPCA advice on how to keep pets and wildlife cool as heatwave reaches the UK
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Esme Wheeler, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “The hot weather has gone from glorious to extreme, and we can’t stress enough how vital it is that pet owners take the situation seriously.
“That means limiting or skipping walks, only taking very essential car journeys, leaving water available at all times, and preparing damp, cold towels and mats, and frozen treats.
“We’re still getting reports of dogs being left in cars, and seeing a lot of dogs being taken to busy outdoor events like festivals, shows and fetes, and to the beach. Don’t be that person who is dragging their panting dog along the pavement or plodding around a garden show.”
The RSPCA and North Yorkshire Police both advise to never leave your dog in a vehicle. If you do see a dog in a car and you think it’s suffering, dial 999 and the police will assess the situation and may smash the car window if required.
For the majority of the daytime hours, keep dogs indoors or wherever it is coolest.
If you must exercise your dog, horse or other type of pet, aim to do this either early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
For all animals, including guinea pigs and rabbits, keep fresh, cool water available at all times. You can freeze your dog’s water bowl or kong, or add ice cubes to your pet’s bowl.
Check water troughs are working properly and clean out any algae or debris and make sure pet pigs have plenty of wet mud to wallow in as well as shade.
To help cool down dogs and cats, you can wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel, or use damp towels for your pet to lie on.
You can use pet-safe sun cream on dogs, cats and horses, and apply this to exposed areas such as noses, muzzles and ears.
Flystrike is common during the hot weather, so check small animals, poultry and other pets twice a day to prevent this.
You can keep guinea pigs, rabbits and chickens cool and hydrated by making them a fresh vegetable treat.
Ensure caged animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs have constant access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times, and 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 fish tanks away from windows and out of direct sunlight.
A non-toxic fly repellent spray and a fly mask can help keep horses protected from bugs.
Leave a bowl of fresh drinking water in your garden for birds and other wildlife and top up water levels of ponds. If you want to cut the grass then keep an eye out for wildlife such as frogs, toads and birds.