Pets, wildlife and farm animals are all falling victim to the rising summer temperatures affecting nearly all parts of the UK, according to the RSPCA.
After receiving a large number of worrying calls to its cruelty line, the RSPCA is reminding people that all animals can suffer a variety of problems in hot weather.
A pet pug died after being left in a car on a Channel ferry crossing, but the charity says it is not just dogs that are vulnerable.
Last weekend the RSPCA received nearly 400 calls about animals affected by the rising temperatures, including:
- a rabbit left outside without shade or water
- a parrot left in a hot car
- a cat trapped in a glass box
- 30 chicks kept in a wire cage with no access to shade
- a horse left tethered in 28°C heat and unable to get water
- a cage of hamsters left in a pet shop window in direct sunlight
RSPCA pet welfare expert Jane Tyson said: “Every summer we urge people to take extra precautions during the heat, but sadly our inspectors on the ground are still being faced with distressing situations that could have been avoided.
“We have already had calls about animals such as rabbits dying in their cages due to the heat and lack of access to water. While we hope the message is starting to get through to people that hot cars can be death traps for dogs, it is really important to remember other animals may be suffering too.”
The charity has issued the following tips on what to do:
- Never leave an animal in a car, conservatory, greenhouse or caravan in warm weather.
- Cover any white extremities – especially ear tips – with pet safe sun cream at least once a day before the animal goes outside.
- Make sure all pets have access to shade and a constant supply of fresh drinking water. All cages and enclosures should be kept in the shade. Watch out for warning signs of heatstroke. If your dog pants heavily, is lethargic or collapses, put them in a cool spot and spray with cool water immediately. Always contact a vet urgently for advice.
- Check your pets for fleas, ticks and mites. If your pets have fleas, a flea treatment from your vet is advised.
- Check twice a day for fly strike. If an animal infected with fly strike is not treated straight away it could die a painful death. Animals should be kept clean and their back end checked every day. If it is dirty, clean immediately with warm water and dry. Bedding should be changed every week during the summer.
- Don’t allow animals to exercise excessively in the heat. Walk your dog early morning or evening.
- Keep indoor fish tanks out of direct sunlight, change the water regularly and keep them clear of algae, which spread much faster on sunny days. Outside, spray a hose over ponds to top up water levels and replace lost oxygen.