When the weather warms up, it can be difficult to escape the heat.
Follow our tips for keeping your pet safe and happy in hot weather and make sure they enjoy summer too.
How to take care of a dog on hot days
It's easy for dogs to overheat, since they don't sweat like humans do when they're hot. Instead, they pant and use their paw pads and nose to release heat and keep cool.
Keep your dog hydrated with plenty of fresh water. Adding ice cubes to their water bowl will also help.
Always make sure they have access to shade and use specially-formulated pet sun cream on their nose, ear tips and other exposed areas of skin when they're in the sun.
If you're dog likes water and you have a garden, set up a paddling pool for them to splash and cool down in.
Walking dogs in hot weather
On warmer days, it's best to walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening, when the weather is cooler.
When you're out walking, check how hot the pavement is. Black tarmac can get very hot in the sun and dogs' paw pads burn easily. As a rule, if you can't touch it with your hand for five seconds, your dog can't walk on it without getting burnt.
Can dogs get heatstroke?
In short, yes. Heat exhaustion in dogs can come on in a matter of minutes and symptoms of heatstroke in dogs only occur when they're already quite unwell.
To prevent this, never leave a dog in a car on a sunny day, even if it doesn't seem very hot outside and you're only going to be gone for a few minutes. If the temperature outside is 22°C, it'll reach 47°C in the car within an hour.
If you think your dog has heatstroke, move them somewhere cool and breezy, wet their fur with cool water and call your vet for advice.
How to keep cats cool in summer
While many cats enjoy lying in the warmth of the sun, they also need a shady spot to escape the sun and relax in. It's also best to keep them inside when the sun is strongest, between 11am and 3pm.
Keep your cat hydrated by topping up their fresh water more often than normal.
Check that your cat isn't in your shed, conservatory or greenhouse when you close them up at night. They can become very hot in the sun and usually don't offer much ventilation.
Cats can also benefit from pet-specific sun cream, especially those with lighter coloured fur.
We also have some tips for other animals:
- Make sure all animals have access to plenty of clean water
- Don't keep animals in direct sunlight. If they live outside, they should have access to shaded areas (this includes in ponds)
- Make sure ponds and fish tanks are kept topped up and carry out water changes regularly in fish tanks
- Make sure outdoor animals are kept in well-ventilated houses
- Avoid transporting animals such as horses on hot days, unless it can be done early in the morning or later in the evening
You should also take a look at our guide to looking after pets in cold weather to make sure you've covered all year round.