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Heatwave weather warning

A collie dog shakes of water and the droplets spray around him

With temperatures set to soar this week, we’re warning pet owners of the dangers the heat can cause their beloved pets.

Alison Thomas, Veterinary Surgeon at our animal hospital in Victoria, London, said: “While we enjoy the sunshine and warm weather this week it is important to make sure our pets are kept safe. They can quickly overheat and sometimes this can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.”

Every year we admit four to five pets a day when the mercury rises, including dogs who have been left in cars. Even parked in the shade with the windows down the temperature inside a car can reach deadly levels and dogs can overheat within minutes.

How to keep your pet safe during the heatwave:

  • Walk your dog during cooler times of day in the early morning or evening and avoid strenuous games
  • Make sure your pet has access to clean water at all times, ideally in a large bowl filled to the brim. Older animals, particularly cats, are vulnerable to dehydration. 
  • Light-coloured dogs and cats can get sunburnt which can lead to skin cancer. Keep sunbathing pets indoors when the sun is strongest. You can also apply a non-toxic human sunscreen or one specifically for pets to vulnerable areas like ears and noses.
  • Pets with thick fur will need regular grooming and even a trim to prevent them overheating. Seek advice from a professional groomer.
  • For small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs, make sure their hutches and runs are in shady areas so they can keep cool and make sure they are clean at all times with water topped up
  • Make ice cubes with your pet’s favourite treat inside
  • Have a paddling pool with cool water in the garden for dogs to play in
  • Never leave your pet in a car, even with the windows down

If you suspect your animal is suffering from heatstroke, remove them to a cool place, wet their coat and contact a vet immediately. Avoid overcooling, especially small pets.

Find our more about keeping pets safe in the heat in our Summer survival guide.

A dog cools down in a paddling pool and splashes water around him