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Parties, picnics and more: Plan ahead for pets this Jubilee Bank Holiday

a dog
Photo: RSPCA

Pet owners are being encouraged to plan ahead for their dogs if they are attending Platinum Jubilee events such as parties, picnics and fetes, as well as prepare for the possibility of fireworks, loud music and crowds.

As families flock to attend community events and street parties, as well as hosting gatherings and barbecues at home and enjoying the weather on long walks, it’s important pets are provided for and kept safe, happy and cool, as some regions have forecasted warm weather.

Animal welfare groups are advising pet owners to make plans and arrangements in advance to keep their pets happy and healthy, from checking weather forecasts to being aware of any planned fireworks, and making arrangements for pets if they are going to be out during the day or staying away overnight.

Esme Wheeler, RSPCA dog welfare specialist, said: “The upcoming Bank Holiday long weekend is something many of us are looking forward to, enjoying time off work, spending time with family and friends and having fun. However, it might be that people haven’t given much thought yet to managing their pets over the duration, and others may have assumed they will take their pets along to whatever they have planned which might not be the best thing for them, so we’ve come up with tips to help them plan ahead and consider things that they may have overlooked that might put pets at risk.”

Top Tips for Pets This Bank Holiday

👑 Never leave your dog in the car during warm weather. Even if it doesn’t feel very warm outside, dogs can quickly suffer if shut inside a car. ‘Not long is too long’ and it is never worth the risk – dogs die in hot cars.

👑 If you are visiting family, friends or attending an event, consider leaving your dog at home or with a trusted person to look after them while you are out. Your dog may not be comfortable around children, unfamiliar people or crowds.

👑 It’s tempting to take dogs to town and villages fetes and picnics, but consider if it’s the best environment for them to be in. Busy, loud environments can be very distressing for dogs. You could exercise dogs in the early morning or late evening instead, when temperatures are cooler and public places may be quieter.

👑 Avoid walking your dogs in hot weather, or taking them for a day out to places with little or no shade such as beaches. Pavements can get very hot in the warm weather, as can sand and other surfaces – if you can’t comfortably keep your hand on the ground for five seconds then it’s too hot for your pooch’s paws too!

👑 Avoid over-exercising dogs in warm weather and avoid encouraging them to over-exert themselves when playing.

👑 Instead, you could stay at home and fill a paddling pool or spray a hose for your dog to play in, but always supervise them around water.

👑 If necessary, use a pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your pet’s skin

👑 Provide constant access to fresh, clean water and cool, shady resting spots.

👑 Be aware at family picnics or barbecues of other people feeding your dog – some foods are poisonous to dogs, and even small amounts of human food can potentially cause them to have very upset stomachs.

👑 Instead, why not have a go at making some frozen dog treats to keep your pooch cool, or put their usual meal inside a Kong feeder toy and freeze it to keep them occupied?

👑 Check for local events that may cause your pet stress such as live music, bands and orchestras and fireworks, and make arrangements for your pets accordingly to help them cope.

👑 Remember, caravans, campervans and tents can also get very hot in warm weather, so consider if taking your dog away is the best idea for their welfare. Check out our going on holiday advice for pet owners.

Pet owners are also being urged to learn the early warning signs of heat-related illness so they can avoid putting their dog at risk, and also know what action to take in an emergency. All breeds of dog are at risk, but if your dog has an underlying health condition, especially one affecting their breathing, then they could overheat more easily, as well as overweight dogs, dogs with double coats, and some large and flat-faced breeds.

What are the signs of heat-related illness in dogs?

  • Excessive panting that doesn’t stop when the dog rests.
  • Difficulty breathing, especially if there is unusual noise or any blue/grey tinge to gums or tongue.
  • Unusual tiredness – becoming tired sooner than normal.
  • Changes in behaviour – lying down more frequently and stumbling.
  • Less keen to play.

What should I do if I spot these signs?

  • Stop them from exercising
  • Move them into the shade
  • Lay them in water and/or pour it over them
  • Speak to a vet if you are concerned

If you see a dog in a hot car

In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, they would need police assistance.

You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.

Visit the RSPCA website for more seasonal advice on keeping your pets safe during the summer online.

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Parties, picnics and more: Plan ahead for pets this Jubilee Bank Holiday