With the summer in full swing and people going on their holidays, it is a busy time for the RSPCA.
We receive many enquiries and reports from members of the public concerned about the welfare of pets over the warm holiday period.
To find out more about anything on this page, ask our virtual assistant.
Pets in hot weather
We urge pet owners to avoid leaving animals in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans during warm weather, as temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) and this may result in death.
Dogs die in hot cars
Every summer, RSPCA inspectors are called out to reports of dogs being left in hot cars - some of these dogs died because of their thoughtless owners.
Read about how to keep dogs cool in the warm summer months.
Remember: Under the Animal Welfare Act pet owners have a legal duty to care for their animals, which includes preventing suffering. Penalties are a fine of up to £20,000 and/or up to six months in prison.
Holiday pet care
In the excitement of preparing for a holiday or weekend away, don't forget to make arrangements for your pets. It can take time to sort out their care, so you should always do this well in advance.
Whether you choose to take your pet on holiday with you or leave them at home, consideration should always be given to your pet’s welfare. For information on taking your pets with you or keeping them safe while you are away, see our going on holiday advice pages.
Remember: It is a criminal offence to leave any animal alone without making proper arrangements for its welfare.
Top tips for caring for animals in summer
- Never leave animals in a car during warm weather.
- Don't let your pet get sunburnt.
- Make sure that all pets have access to shade and a constant supply of fresh drinking water.
- Check your pets for fleas, ticks and mites.
- Check every day for flystrike.
- Don't over-exercise dogs in the heat.
- Keep indoor fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up the water levels of ponds.
- Don't leave pets alone at home when you go away on holiday.
- Be wildlife-friendly in the garden - take care when using a lawn-mower or strimmer and keep toxic pesticides out of the reach of animals.
Snakes are most active during June and July, and this is the time when you are most likely to encounter them.
Don't be alarmed if you see a snake. Most are just passing through and tend to shy away from humans.
Farm animals in hot weather
All animals should have shaded areas and plenty of clean drinking water available to them during hot weather.
The transportation of animals in hot weather should be avoided unless this is absolutely necessary. Where possible, it should be done during the coolest part of the day - night time is usually the best for this movement.
If animals are housed during hot weather, measures must be taken to ensure adequate ventilation inside. The buildings should be monitored frequently to assess any changes indicating that more drastic action is needed.
To find out more about farm animals in hot weather, read our FAQ:
Farm animals in hot weather
Ragwort (also known as 'yellow peril') is one of the most frequent causes of plant poisoning in livestock. Horses and cows are more susceptible to ragwort poisoning than other livestock, and young and/or unhealthy animals are more susceptible than mature/healthy animals.
Ragwort poisoning can occur at any time of year and is most dangerous in dried grass, hay and silage.
The RSPCA opposes the use of all animals in circuses. Circus animals are often kept in close confinement in poor living conditions, forced to perform unnatural behaviours to a timetable.
While being transported from site to site, animals are exposed to human handling, noise, vibration, cage motion and confinement, all of which can cause considerable stress.
Visit our animals in circuses page and our circuses campaign page to find out more.