WITH temperatures set to soar over the coming days, pet owners may be wondering how to keep their furred and feathered friends cool and comfortable.
The RSPCA say it is important to pay special attention to your animals, however big or small, in the hot weather to avoid heat exhaustion.
Here are their top tips:
Dogs and horses need regular exercise but the RSPCA say this should be avoided when the weather is excessively hot. Head out very early in the morning or wait until the evening when it is cooler - always check the heat of the pavements before setting off - if it feels too hot for your hand, it is too hot for their feet.
If you are heading out to spend hours in the sun, avoid taking your dog with you. Spending prolonged periods of time in the sun without shade poses a risk to your pet.
Many people think it's ok to leave their dog in the car if they're parked in the shade or the windows are open. But a car can become as hot as an oven, even when the weather doesn't feel that warm. When it's 22 degrees Celsius outside, the car could reach an unbearable 47 degrees within an hour. It's very dangerous and will cause your dog suffering and harm. The same goes with conservatories and caravans - animals can quickly overheat in any hot environment.
Frozen treats are a great way to help your pet stay cool, frozen dog treats or a lolly made from dog-friendly ingredients are great. If you own rabbits or guinea pigs, give them chilled fresh vegetables. You could try wrapping an ice pack or frozen water bottle in an old tea towel and placing it near your animal to cool their surroundings, chilled towels are good for pets to lie on too.
Dog owners can try a paddling pool for them to cool off or use a fine spray of the hose to help them, but just as with children, don't leave your pet unattended around deep water and be aware of the heat of your patios and paths if your are taking your dog in the garden for water cooling.
Just like us, pets can get sunburn. Pet-safe sun cream is available to buy. Always make sure your pets have constant access to shade and fresh drinking water at all times.
Be aware that as the sun moves during the day, so does the shade - be aware if you keep rabbits or guinea pigs that you will have to move them too to ensure they have a cool place to hide out.
Chicken owners can try hanging vegetable necklaces in shady spots to encourage the animals to stay out of the sun.
The RSPCA advises small animals and poultry are regularly checked for flystrike. Flystrike happens when flies lay their eggs on another animal, which then hatch into maggots which eat their 'hosts' flesh. Pets with dirty rear ends or dirty fur are at most risk of flystrike.
Be careful to keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight, not only does it cause algae, heat fluctuations in the tank can be deadly.