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Surge in hot weather pet advice searches as temperatures rise

05 Sep 2023 4 minute read
Animal lovers have been urged to protect pets during this week’s soaring temperatures.

As temperatures look set to top 25°C in many parts of the country this week the RSPCA has already seen a 77% rise in people visiting its advice pages about how dogs can die on hot walks.

Users of the charity’s website searching for advice have surged from 46,431 people from January to August this year, compared to 26,143 for the same period in 2022.

Visitors to the charity’s other online hot weather advice pages have also seen a rise, as more people sought information about heatstroke in dogs (up 11%) and not leaving dogs to die in hot cars (up 2.3%).

But amid fears that some pet owners may still be caught unprepared by this sudden heatwave, the RSPCA has renewed its plea for animal lovers to take heed of its tips on how to protect animals in hot weather, preventing animals from suffering or even death.

The urgent advice comes as the Met Office reported that many places in Wales could expect to see maximum temperatures rise to 25°C or above for several days this week, which would bring some locations ‘into the realm of heatwave conditions’.

During every period of hot weather, the RSPCA receives hundreds of reports of animals at risk from heat exposure, including dogs left in hot cars, pets with heat burns on their paws from pavements, dehydrated wild animals after water supplies have dried up, grazing animals left with no shade, and dogs over-exercised in the heat.

The charity is asking owners of all pets – from cats and dogs to small furries, horses and farm animals – to be prepared, and is also calling on people to help look out for wildlife in the hot weather.

Every year, the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups issue a stark and serious warning to dog owners never to leave a dog in a hot car, and to call 999 immediately if they see a dog in distress in a hot car.

The group also highlights the health risks of walking dogs during hotter weather, including sunstroke and overheating, as well as pets burning their pads on scorching pavements.

Esme Wheeler, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said that it is vital pet owners are not caught unprepared by this week’s unexpected heatwave and to make sure they do everything they can to keep pets and wildlife safe during hot weather.


She said: “Hot weather can be a secret killer for animals, with sunstroke, overheating, burnt pads from hot pavement and dehydration causing major problems.

“While many of us will be enjoying this week’s sudden hotter temperatures, it could be a killer heatwave for the nation’s beloved animals without our help and preparedness.

“So while it is positive we’ve seen a massive surge in animal lovers seeking information about protecting pets in hot weather, we are still concerned that some people may be caught unprepared.

“By following our top tips for keeping pets cools, as well as familiarising themselves with the signs of heatstroke in pets, owners will be taking responsible steps to keeping their animals safe this week.

“With just a few simple tweaks to their routine, animal lovers can really make a huge difference to pets’ comfort during the hot weather, and in some cases, may well be saving their lives.”

She added that dog owners should be particularly aware of the dangers of walking their pets during high temperatures.

“While the majority of us would never leave our dogs in a car on a hot day, or even take our dogs for a really long walk in the heat, many people may still be putting their dogs at risk even on a short walk, or by taking them to places such as fields and beaches with little or no shade, but the truth is, walking dogs in hot weather can be a silent killer,” she said.

“We have long-campaigned about the risk of dogs dying in hot cars, but this year we’re highlighting that dogs die on hot walks, too.

“The message remains very simple – never leave a dog in a hot car because ‘not long’ is too long, and when it comes to walks, ‘if in doubt, don’t go out’. Sharing this message this week could help save a dog’s life.”

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