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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!

Pets in hot weather

Avoid leaving animals in cars, conservatories, outbuildings or caravans. Temperatures can quickly rise to 47°C (117°F) which can result in death.

Dogs in hot cars

Every summer, we're called out to reports of dogs being left in hot cars. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, please, dial 999.


Waking your dog in hot weather

Dogs need exercise, even when it's hot, however you should never exercise your dog excessively in hot weather. We recommend walking your dog in the morning or evening when it will not burn its paws on the pavement or be at increased risk of heatstroke.

Signs of burned pads:

  • limping or refusing to walk
  • licking or chewing at the feet
  • pads darker in colour
  • missing part of pad
  • blisters or redness.

Holiday pet care

Whether you take your pet on holiday with you or leave them at home, consideration should be given to their welfare. See going on holiday advice pages.

Tips for caring for animals in summer

  • Don't let your pet get sunburnt.
  • Ensure pets always have access to shade and fresh drinking water.
  • Check every day for flystrike.
  • Keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up the water levels of ponds.
  • Be wildlife-friendly - take care when using lawn-mowers or strimmers and keep pesticides out of reach of animals. 


Snakes are most active during June and July; don't be alarmed if you see one. Most are just passing through and tend to shy away from humans.

Farm animals in hot weather

All animals should have shaded areas and clean drinking water available.

Transportation of animals in hot weather should be avoided
unless absolutely necessary. Where possible, it should be done during the coolest part of the day.

If animals are housed during hot weather, the buildings/housing must be adequately ventilated and should also be monitored frequently to assess changes indicating more drastic action is needed.

Find out more about Farm animals in hot weather (PDF 48KB).


Ragwort (also known as 'yellow peril') is one of the most frequent causes of plant poisoning in livestock. Horses and cows are particularly susceptible to ragwort poisoning, 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.

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