How To Keep Your Pets Cool During This Weekend's Heatwave
With a mega heatwave forecast across the UK, you might already be wondering how you're going to avoid turning into a hot mess this weekend.
But the RSPCA is urging pet owners to keep their animals cool too, as the rising temperatures pose a risk of sunburn and even deadly heatstroke.
Here, we reveal how to look after your pets during the heatwave - and the best products to help keep them cool in the garden.
Can I take my dog out for a walk?
"Pets may struggle to realise when they are too hot so make sure they have constant access to shade and don't over-exercise them in the heat," warns RSPCA Operational Superintendent Lee Hopgood.
"Remember if the pavement is too hot for your hand then it will be too hot for their paws. They can also suffer from heatstroke which could be fatal, especially if left in a hot car, conservatory or caravan."
Can animals get sunburnt?
Yes! "Pale-coloured dogs and cats are vulnerable to sunburn; particularly their ears, noses and sparsely haired areas. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer which may require extensive surgery - even amputation in severe case," explains the Blue Cross which advises keeping your pet indoors between 11am and 3pm when the sun is strongest.
The charity also recommends applying non-toxic waterproof human sunblock or a product specifically for pets. Petkin Doggy Sunmist Spray SPF15, £6, is designed for pooches.
How long can dogs be left in the car?
"When it's 22 celsius outside, within an hour, the temperature can reach 47 celsius inside a vehicle which can result in death," says the RSPCA.
The organisation urges people not to take the risk at all, even with the windows open, and has the motto "not long is too long."
"A dog's normal body temperature is around 39°C. Although the upper lethal body temperature of dogs is approximately 42°C, brain damage may develop at body temperatures of 41°C.
"Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced at high temperatures and humidities," it states. Don't be afraid to dial 999 for the police, if you see a dog left in a car on a warm day.
How can I keep my cat or dog's food and water cool in the hot weather?
The RSPCA suggests popping in some ice cubes or even freezing the bowl or kong itself (a type of refillable treat toy) first to ensure it stays chilled.
You can also make ice lollies or ice cube treats from pet-friendly ingredients.
How should I keep my rabbit safe in the sun?
Smaller animals are at risk, too. The Blue Cross advises giving rabbits apple or celery for added moisture and misting them with cool water.
As well as ensuring they have a shaded area, you'll need to watch out for flystrike. Also known as myiasis, the condition occurs when flies lay their eggs on or near rabbits. These hatch into maggots then feed on the rabbit - causing pain, severe shock and even death.
"Check both outdoor rabbits and house rabbits at least twice a day. Keep hutches clean and dry, and disinfect them at least once a week. Repellents such as 'Rearguard' may also help protect them," explains the Blue Cross.
What other tips are there for keeping my pet cool in the sun?
The RSPCA suggests wrapping an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a damp tea towel for your pet to lie on.
The high street has some genius solutions when the heat is on, too. Lidl's Zoofari Dog Bed with Sun Shade, £19.99, works like a shaded sun lounger for your pup, protecting from sun rays and providing added ventilation.
"The dog bed with sun roof is absolutely brilliant. My dogs both just fell in love with it," raved one reviewer.
Featured Image Credit: Lidl