RSPCA Cymru has urged pet owners and farmers to keep their animals cool in the summer heat as temperatures rocket to 29C in some parts of Wales this week.

The weather has been hotting up over the past few days with temperatures set to soar up to 29C in some areas. Whilst we may enjoy the hotter weather, some of our pets and other animals may struggle in the heat.

RSPCA Cymru superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: "There is a very serious side to keeping pets cool over summer as animals can suffer from heatstroke which could be fatal, especially if left in a hot car, conservatory or caravan.

“Pets may struggle to realise when they are too hot so make sure they have constant access to shade and don’t over exercise them in the heat. Remember if the pavement is too hot for your hand then it will be too hot for their paws.”

Some of the RSPCA centres have come up with ingenious ideas for keeping pets cool which you can try at home.

Freezing a dog’s water bowl or kong before putting water or treats in keeps them cool for longer. Putting ice cubes into your dog or cat’s water bowl or making some tasty ice cube treats is another fantastic idea. Damp towels for your pet to lie on or an ice pack wrapped in a towel could provide a welcome relief from the heat.

Seasonal advice: Summer

Dogs and horses need exercise, even when it’s hot. But the RSPCA says you should avoid exercising them in excessively hot weather. Experts advise walking or riding in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. When walking dogs keep in mind that pavements can get very hot in the warm weather - if it’s too hot to touch with your hand, then it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.

Never leave pets in vehicles, caravans, conservatories or outbuildings in the warm weather. Dogs - and other pets - can overheat and die if left in a hot environment, such as a car.

Snakes are most active in June and July so don’t be alarmed if you see one in the wild. Most tend to shy away from people.

Farm animals should have access to shaded areas and clean drinking water. Transportation of animals in hot weather should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. If animals are housed during hot weather, buildings must be adequately ventilated and monitored regularly.

Top tips for pet owners in hot weather:

  • Don’t let your pet get sunburnt - use pet-safe sun cream.
  • Ensure animals have access to shade and fresh drinking water.
  • Check every day for flystrike.
  • Keep fish tanks out of direct sunlight and top up water levels of ponds.
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife when using lawnmowers or strimmers.
  • Keep pesticides out of reach of animals.
  • Wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel for your pet to lie on.
  • Use cold treats from the fridge for added moisture or make an ice lolly from pet-friendly ingredients.

Top tips on what you can do this summer to help wildlife:

  • Be wildlife-friendly in the garden. Take care when using a lawn-mower or strimmer - both can be deadly to animals. Hedgehogs in long grass may curl up if they feel threatened and toads tend to squat down rather than run away. Keep pesticides out of reach of animals or switch to non-toxic deterrents.
  • Search bonfires before burning garden rubbish. Lizards, grass snakes, hedgehogs and toads often seek sanctuary in heaps of garden refuse.
  • Top up the water levels of ponds and make sure pond fish have access to shaded areas created by aquatic plants.

Wild animals will appreciate a bowl of fresh water in this heat, but remember:

  • Keep the water away from the bird table or other feeding areas to avoid fouling.
  • Reduce the risk of spreading disease; clean water containers daily and dry them before refilling.
  • Predators such as cats pounce from bushes and trees so don’t put the water dish too close by.
  • It’s best to give hedgehogs plain, fresh water each night in a shallow bowl; they should never be given cow's milk as they are lactose intolerant and it will give them diarrhea.