Walk dogs in the morning or evening – before 8am and after 5pm is best. This stops them overheating in the midday sun. Always take plenty of water with you when out with your dog.
Pavements and sand can get very hot in the middle of the day and can burn your dog’s paws. You can check the temperature of the pavement with your own hand or bare foot – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog!
Don’t leave your dog in a car – as temperatures rise, dogs overheat quickly and leaving them for as little as 20 minutes could prove fatal.
- Give long-haired dogs a summer haircut to help keep them cool.
- Cooling Jackets and mats are now proving very popular
- Having a fan on at warm times to circulate the air is helpful
- Paddling pools are also a great way to keep your pooches cool
- Adding ice to water bowls, or making frozen lollies
- Make sure the dog has shade to cool off in, either inside or when out
- Dogs can get sun burned – especially white dogs or those with little hair so try and keep them out of direct sun – and apply a high factor sun cream to ear tips and noses.
- Be careful in the sun
- Make sure your cats have access to shade during the day.
- Don’t leave them in cars, caravans or conservatories – they can quickly overheat.
- Make sure they have access to plenty of clean drinking water throughout the day.
- If your cat has long hair, you can help keep them cool by giving them a summer trim.
- Cats can get sun burned – especially white cats – so try and keep them out of direct sun and apply a high factor sun cream to ear tips and noses.
Rabbits and guinea pigs
- Don’t leave hutches in direct sunlight.
- Make sure they have a shady area to relax in if they get too hot – their hutch roof must be solid for shade and safety and their exercise run should also have a covered area.
- Never keep your rabbit or guinea pig in a greenhouse or conservatory – they can quickly overheat.
- Make sure they have plenty of clean water throughout the day – having a frozen water bottle, or ice cubes added can help keep your bunnies cool
- Leave a glass jar filled with ice cubes, so they have something cool to lie against in hot weather.
- Give pets some shade.
- Keep their cage out of direct sunlight and away from places likely to become hot.
- Make sure your pets’ bottle is topped up with fresh water to help prevent overheating.
- Keep small pets cool by freezing a bottle of water and placing it on the outside of their cage, near their sleeping area. Don’t put it inside their cage because they might get too cold.
Wildlife and birds
The hot weather could be causing natural water sources to dry up, meaning birds and hedgehogs could be left without anything to drink. Turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a make-shift pond from a washing-up tub or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our garden favourites that are already fighting against declines.
Drier conditions make worms tunnel further into the soil, becoming scarce for the wildlife that usually feasts on them, such as blackbirds, robins, hedgehogs and frogs. To compensate, additional food should be left out to make sure suitable nutrition is provided throughout the summer to such animals. A novel substitute to earthworms is dog or cat food, which blackbirds readily take and feed to their chicks. The texture of tinned meaty chunks is perfect as it avoids hard lumps that cause birds to choke. Black sunflower seeds, mild grated cheese, and of course, bird seed, are also recommended, but make sure to steer well clear of any salts, which are toxic to birds.