Seasonal advice for summer

We receive many enquiries and reports about the welfare of animals over the summer months, particularly when it's very hot. Find out how to help animals enjoy summer as much as you do!

Top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather

  • Never leave animals in hot cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans, even if it’s just for a short while. Temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) which can result in death.
  • Use pet safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pets skin, such as the tips of their ears and nose, to avoid sunburn. If you're unsure on the right product, please ask your vet.
  • Ensure pets always have access to shade and fresh drinking water to help keep them cool.
  • Check every day for flystrike.
  • Putting ice cubes into your dog or cat’s water bowl or making some tasty ice cube treats is another fantastic idea.
  • Damp towels for your pet to lie on or an ice pack wrapped in a towel could provide a welcome relief from the heat.
  • Dogs may also appreciate a paddling pool to splash around in. Take a look at one of the dogs in our care enjoy a dip in the water.

Walking your dog in hot weather

Dogs need exercise, even when it's hot. We recommend walking your dog in the morning or evening when they will not burn its paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke.

Signs of burned pads:

  • If the pavement is too hot for your hand it's too hot for your dogs paw © RSPCA
    limping or refusing to walk
  • licking or chewing at the feet
  • pads darker in colour
  • missing part of pad
  • blisters or redness

We've worked with The Outdoor Guide to give dog owners tips for keeping dogs happy and healthy in the hot weather, plus great dog friendly walks throughout the summer.

Cat care in the summer

Although cats will often seek shade and drink more water to stay safe, here are a few extra steps you can take to ensure they stay cool during the hot weather:

  • Always check sheds, greenhouses and summerhouses before closing them up. Cats can find their way inside if they’re looking for a cosy spot but could become too hot or dehydrated if trapped.
  • Where safe, keep windows and doors ajar to allow a breeze through the house. If your cat lives indoors-only consider different options such as windows with locking mechanisms, which still allow air into the house but also keeps your cat indoors.

Going on a summer holiday?

Whether you’re taking your pet with you or finding a safe place for them to stay whilst you’re away check out our going on holiday advice for pet owners.

Fish, amphibians and reptiles

  • Keep fish tanks and reptile or amphibian enclosures out of direct sunlight and carry out water changes regularly, to prevent overheating.
  • Top up the water levels of ponds and make sure pond fish have access to shaded areas created by aquatic plants.
  • Check temperature levels inside enclosures regularly to ensure they are at the correct temperature gradient for the species.

Captive birds

  • Keep indoor captive birds out of direct sunlight and ensure aviary birds have shaded areas. All birds need access to clean fresh water, both for drinking and bathing.
  • Birds such as parrots often enjoy being gently misted with cool water, to cool off and maintain feather condition.
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