Pet owners across South Yorkshire are being urged to take extra care of their animals this week as the county basks in a summer heatwave.
With forecasters predicting temperatures of above 30c for the first time this year, vets are warning pet owners to be aware of the problems a heatwave can cause cats, dogs and other pets.
Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Hot and even warm weather can cause real problems for our pets.
“Most people know not to leave pets in cars on a warm or hot day, but not everyone is aware that conservatories or caravans can be just as bad with temperatures rising dangerously high, quicker than you might think.
“Even when it feels relatively mild outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach up to 130 degrees in less than 30 minutes.
“And while most people think about dogs and cats, we must also help our pet rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets keep safe in the summer heat.
“Make sure cats and dogs have plenty of fresh, cold water available at all times.
“Check and top up at least twice a day and consider leaving water in more than one place so they are never too far from a bowl. Putting ice cubes in the bowl will keep the water nice and cool and encourage them to drink more.
“When pets are outdoors, make sure they always have access to shade.
“Use pet sun block to protect any areas not protected by fur like tips of ears and noses, especially white ones.
“Walk your dogs either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
“Consider having pets with long fur clipped to make them more comfortable during the hot weather.
“Watch out for signs of heatstroke and call your vet straight away for advice if concerned. Signs of heatstroke can include excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and anxious behaviour, dark red gums and a rapid heart rate.”
He said rabbits, guinea pigs and other small pets should have access to shade.
Indoor cages should be moved out of out of direct sunlight into a cooler part of the house.