Seasonal advice


Autumn pet advice 


Many pets become anxious and frightened of fireworks. It must be scary and strange to them: there are loud bangs and flashes outside and they hear us greet them with ‘Oooh’ and ‘Ahhh’.

If you own a puppy or kitten, we have steps you can take to reduce the chance of your pet growing up scared of fireworks.

If you own an adult pet that’s already scared of fireworks, we have ways to help them cope.

Download our useful Fireworks leaflet

How to prevent puppies and kittens from growing up scared

Get them used to the sounds of everyday life during their first couple of months. Let them hear the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, television and other household noises. This ‘socialisation period’ means they’re far less likely to be scared of noises and fireworks as adults.

Playing them a socialisation CD is a good way of getting them used to sounds including firework noises. So your pet is more likely to be calm and unafraid when they hear real fireworks.

Dogs – preparing for the firework season

  • Different dogs try to cope with the noise of fireworks in different ways. Allow your dog to hide if they want to, or be with you if they want to. Prevent anything dangerous from happening, such as running away.

  • Create a den. Many dogs try to hide in a corner or under a bed when they hear fireworks. It helps them to cope with their fear. 

  • Pad it with old pillows and blankets to soundproof it. In the weeks leading up to firework season, give your dog access to this den at all times. 

  • Give healthy treats and praise when your dog uses it, to build a positive association.

  • Don’t force your dog to go into the den you’ve made if they prefer a different hiding place. 

  • Use a pheromone plug-in nearby. Pheromones are scents that calm dogs, but we can’t smell them. They’re available from pet shops.

Signs of stress in pets


  • Trembling and shaking

  • Clinging to owners

  • Excessive barking

  • Cowering and hiding behind furniture

  • Trying to run away

  • Soiling the house

  • Pacing and panting

  • Refusing to eat


  • Cowering and hiding behind or on top of furniture

  • Trying to run away

  • Soiling the house

  • Refusing to eat


  • Stamping hind feet

  • Staying motionless

  • Trying to escape

What should I do on firework nights?

  • Take your dog for a walk well before fireworks are due to begin.

  • Keep doors, windows and cat and dog flaps closed.

  • Draw the curtains.

  • Play music with a repetitive beat to help mask the sounds.

  • If your dog prefers to go away and hide, allow him to do this, leave him alone and don’t try to comfort him. This is his/her coping strategy.

  • If your dog is used to seeking reassurance from you in stressful times and wants social contact, don’t ignore them and instead comfort them as you would normally. This is a short-term measure to help your pet cope while he or she is afraid. But it is important to change this coping behaviour to one that isn’t dependent on you in case you are not always present e.g. by providing a den. 

  • Try to stay calm yourself, so your pets don’t pick up on anything unusual. Keep your tone, mood and behaviour as normal as possible.

  • Never punish your pets. It’s not their fault they ‘re scared and it adds to their anxiety.

  • Ensure your pets are microchipped, so if they escape from the home, there is more chance you will be reunited.

  • Let cats hide where they like – do not try to tempt them out.

  • Don’t pick up cats or restrain them if they are scared: cats prefer to control how they cope.

What should I do to help small pets and wildlife?

  • Partly cover hutches and outdoor cages with blankets, so they’re more sound-proofed.

  • Make sure your pets have hiding places and secure areas where they can feel safe.

  • Give plenty of bedding – this helps keep noise out and provides a hiding place.

  • Ensure the bonfire is nowhere near any pets.

  • Hedgehogs may think an unlit bonfire is a great place to sleep. So build the fire as late as possible and disturb it around the bottom before lighting, to let any wildlife can escape.

How to help your pet long term

As well as helping your pet on the night, pets that are scared of fireworks and other loud noises can be treated for their fear using effective behavioural techniques. It takes time and patience, but can achieve excellent results.

  • Tell your vet about your pet’s fear of loud noises. They’ll thoroughly check there isn’t a medical reason, e.g. thyroid disease.

  • Your vet may recommend behavioural therapy, or suggest referral to a veterinary behaviourist or a pet behaviour counsellor.

  • Behavioural therapy often uses a technique called ‘desensitisation and counter-conditioning’. Over time, this teaches your pet that loud noises are nothing to be afraid of. 

  • Sometimes medication prescribed by a vet is used to help with the behavioural therapy.

  • Owners sometimes ask vets to prescribe tranquilisers for their pet. Some drugs that were once popular are no longer used as they don’t reduce fear, just an animal’s ability to respond. This can make a pet’s fear of fireworks even worse.

Download our useful Fireworks leaflet


Winter health for pets

Keeping pets active and happy in winter is good for their health – and ours! Read on to learn more about:

  • Dog winter care
  • Cat winter care
  • Winter care for small furries
  • Christmas pet survival guide

Dog winter care

Be seen and not hurt
Dogs need regular outdoor exercise. Choose daylight hours in winter whenever possible. At PDSA, we recommend you follow these rules if you have to walk your dog in the dark:

  • Keep your dog on a lead unless in a totally traffic-free area.

  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a torch.

  • Get your dog a glowing/ flashing collar and lead and other safety devices to aid visibility, particularly if your dog is dark haired.

Gearing up for winter

If you walk your dog in the snow, or when the temperature is below freezing, make sure you...

  • Towel dry your dog as soon as you get home or use a hairdryer on a low setting held some distance away. Keep the hairdryer moving as you would for yourself.

  • Consider getting a winter coat for dogs with thin, fine hair, or those that are getting older, or those suffering with joint problems.

  • Prevent snowballs from forming by trimming the hair between your dog’s toes or training it to wear doggy boots.

Don’t let any your dog stay outside in freezing temperatures for a lengthy period without access to shelter and warmth.

Never leave a pet in a car. Even a few minutes in a cold car can cause hypothermia.

Cat winter care

Keep your cat in, but keep it active
Ideally, keep your cat in at night to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents. Stop it becoming a bored couch potato by keeping it active with games you can get involved in...

  • Introduce new games and toys to exercise your cat’s body and mind.

  • Give them activity centres, safe cat mobiles and scratching posts as winter diversions.

  • Hide a favourite toy and encourage your cat to seek it out.

Small furries winter care

Wrap up small pets
Small furries really feel the cold, so here’s how to give them a warm winter welcome....

  • Bring them indoors or move their outdoor hutch to a shed or car-free garage, remember that exhaust fumes can be fatal to your furry friend.

  • Ensure the hutch is dry, well ventilated and has extra warm bedding.

  • Change bedding at least twice a week.

Christmas pet survival guide

Just imagine you are a pet. Christmas seems very strange to you. Humans eat different food in sizes that would keep you going for weeks. They bring strangers into your home who make a lot of noise. They get a tree that you know should only belong outside – and they bring it into your home. They then humiliate it by hanging gaudy-coloured balls off it that you’re not even allowed to play with.

Here are some tips to help make Christmas for your pets less stressful and hazardous for your pets:

Create a Christmas pet den

  • Minimise their stress, by making a quiet, cosy ‘den’ in advance. 

  • For dogs, put it behind a sofa in a quiet room. 

  • For cats, put it securely on a shelf or chest of drawers: they feel safest when high up. 

  • Encourage them to go into their den. Give them healthy treats or praise when they’re relaxed in the den. They will learn to view it as a pleasurable and calm place, where they can escape all the bustle and noise. 

  • Place a pheromone diffuser nearby. This will emit calming scents which only pets can smell. 

Coping with Christmas decorations
A Christmas tree is a playground full of temptations – shiny decorations and flashing lights. But pets can injure themselves as they explore, so here are some ideas:

  • Supervise your pet in rooms containing trees and presents: keep an eye on them as you would a young child.

  • Keep doors closed when you’re not around.

  • Distract them by allocating some ‘pet playtime’ instead, with suitable toys. 

  • Take dogs out for a good run around. 

  • Play with your cat using fishing rod-type toys. 

  • Remove wrappings, wires as well as toys and batteries after opening. They may cause choking as pets often explore new items with their mouths. Batteries can also cause internal burns if they are swallowed and start leaking. 

Kitchen hazards at Christmas
Keep kitchen doors closed so pets can’t get under your feet. With a big Christmas dinner on the go, full of hot ovens and boiling pots and pans, they are more hazardous places than usual.

Christmas food
Keep Christmas food out of the way of pets. Whilst you snooze, they cruise. They’ll sniff out extra treats, but whilst you may feel relaxed about it, as it’s Christmas after all, they can be hazardous. Human food leads to pet obesity. Pets can also choke on turkey bones. Onions, raisins and certain nuts can even be poisonous. Sage and onion stuffing, Christmas cake, chocolate and mince pies can also be harmful

Car journeys
We all buckle up when we travel, so should our pets. It’s for their safety and yours. Unrestrained pets can be distracting when you drive. They can be seriously injured too if you are involved in an accident. So if you’re taking your pets with you when visiting friends and relatives this Christmas, make sure you use pet seat-belts and harnesses for larger pets, and secured pet carriers for smaller pets.

Coping with freezing Christmas temperatures
Hypothermia can occur after just a few minutes in freezing temperatures and can kill. Due to their smaller size, our pets are even more at risk than we are, so prevention is always better than cure:

  • Don’t let any your pets stay outside in freezing temperatures for a lengthy period without access to shelter and warmth.

  • Give a warm dog coat in colder weather if your dog is going to be susceptible.

  • Prevent snowballs from forming by trimming the hair between your dog’s toes or training it to wear doggy boots 

What to do if you suspect hypothermia

Act quickly and correctly – it could save your pet’s life:

  • Immediately remove your pet from the cold. Take them into warm, but not hot, surroundings: warming up too quickly can be harmful.

  • Call your vet and follow their advice.

  • Dry them gently with a towel if they are wet.

  • Gradually raise your pet’s body temperature:
    Either use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
    Or use a hair dryer on a low heat, keep it a moving and hold it at a distance from your pet’s fur, as you would for yourself.

  • Your vet will probably advise bringing your pet in for an appointment. It’s important to do this, even if your pet seems to have recovered.

First Aid in the festive season

Knowing what to do in any emergency can mean the difference between life and death for our pets. Over the festive season it’s more important than ever to make sure you are well prepared in case your pet suffers an accident or injury. Take a look at the First Aid section on the website.

It’s Christmas for your small pets too...
Don’t forget about smaller pets either, e.g. rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. Let them join in the festivities: offer them some of their favourite food wrapped in brown paper. Figuring out how to get to the food is a great challenge to occupy their inquisitive minds. Using relevant objects and puzzle feeders helps animal wellbeing and prevents boredom. This is called ‘environmental enrichment’ – a term often associated with zoos – but it’s equally important for our pets.

Small pets need special care in winter, even on Christmas Day. They are more likely to feel drops in temperature because of their size, so follow these rules:

  • House guinea pigs and rabbits indoors in winter. A warm shed or a car-free garage is ideal, but they should still have access to natural light and an exercise run.

  • Give them extra bedding in the hutch to help keep them warm.

  • Put a blanket or piece of carpet over the hutch to help keep it warm. Make sure this doesn’t obstruct the ventilation.

  • Check water bottles every day to make sure they aren’t frozen.

  • If you have to move the hutch in to your home, make sure it’s kept away from other pets, stressful noises and smoky atmospheres.


Spring pet care 

Easter pet survival guide

Don’t kill with kindness. Easter eggs are a favourite family treat, but can be fatal for your four-legged friend.

Each year, PDSA vets and nurses see over 400 dogs who have been poisoned by human chocolate. Many pets require emergency treatment as human chocolate contains, theobromine – which is fine for us, but life-threatening for pets.

The biggest risk is dark chocolate. It often contains the largest amount of cocoa solids. A small bar contains more than enough theobromine to kill a small dog such as a Yorkshire Terrier.

Don’t forget to avoid giving other Easter treats: chocolate coated raisins, peanuts and coffee beans are even more dangerous to pets, due to their potentially lethal cocktail of toxic chemicals.

Worryingly, research from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report, the UK’s biggest assessment of pet health and wellbeing, reveals that nearly half a million dogs could be at risk of being poisoned as 6% of owners admitted to giving their pets human chocolate.

If you do have an Easter egg hunt, count them before you start: it’s easy to forget where you’ve hidden them all – which risks your pet sniffing them out and eating them.

So keep your pet in eggcellent heath: don’t feed it chocolate.

Chocolate poisoning symptoms

  • The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within 4 to 24 hours of eating. 

  • Initial signs include excessive thirst, vomiting, a tender tummy, drooling and restlessness. 

  • These symptoms can progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing. 

  • In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure or even death.

Bad for the waistline

The high sugar content of chocolate is also bad for pets’ waistlines and teeth, leading to obesity and dental disease.

Vet advice

PDSA Senior Vet Elaine Pendlebury said: “Owners should store chocolates in the same way as medicines when they have pets in their household – safely and securely. If you can’t resist giving them a little Easter treat, make sure it is something pet-friendly, suitable and safe. A new toy or a nice long walk is a good alternative.”


Summer health for pets

Find out about keeping your pet healthy and happy in the summer...

  • Top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather
  • Pet Holidays Leaflet
  • BBQ fun can spell danger for pets
  • Travelling safely with pets
  • Summer garden safety
  • Cats and dogs
  • Rabbits and guinea pigs
  • Small rodents: hamsters, rats, mice and gerbils
  • Fish and fish ponds

Top tips for keeping pets cool in hot weather

With temperatures soaring, mercury rising and the sun beating down, think about how you can help your four-legged pets, feathered friends and even your fish . Put yourself in their paws – imagine how hot you’d feel if you wore a fur coat on a baking hot day. So at PDSA we’ve compiled some top tips for summer:

  • Never leave pets in cars. Not just for a few minutes, even with windows open. You may be delayed. Temperatures can soar in minutes. If they get dangerously high, they can kill your pet with heatstroke. Read PDSA’s advice on what to do if you find a dog left in a car on a hot day.

  • Don’t let pets sit out in strong sun, or leave hutches, runs or cages in direct sunlight. Make sure they can always access shade.

  • Never put your bird cage close to the window or in direct sunlight – the temperature can quickly soar.

  • Give pets plenty of clean, fresh water at all times. Change water regularly in the day.

  • Know the signs of heatstroke – excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and collapse. If this happens, gradually cool your pet’s body temperature with cool, but not cold water: e.g. wrapping it in water soaked towels – and changing them frequently – and call your vet for advice.

  • Trim long-haired pets to prevent them from over-heating.

  • Walk dogs in the morning or evening – before 8am and after 5pm is best. This stops them overheating in the midday sun. It also stops hot road surfaces, pavements and sand from burning paws.

  • Check your rabbit. In the summer, rabbits are prone to maggot infestations, called flystrike. Flies are attracted to dirty fur and lay their eggs, which hatch into maggots. Check your rabbit’s bottom at least twice a day: if it’s dirty, clean it gently with a damp cloth. If you spot any maggots call your vet as soon as you can. 

  • Discard any leftover food as it can go off very quickly in the heat and attract flies.

  • Cool your small furry pets down with ice. Freeze a nearly full plastic bottle of water. Then take it out, wrap it in a towel and lie it on its side outside your pet’s cage, but next to their sleeping area. Don’t put the bottle inside the cage as it can cause leaks and make the pet too cold. Good idea: put two in the freezer so you’ll always have one available.

  • Take extra care if transporting pets in hot weather. Keep windows open when your car is moving. Never let a dog put their head out of your car window. Travel during the coolest times of the day. Never leave your pets in a parked car. 

  • Check your fishponds and aquaria. Ensure they have a shaded area as they can get very hot in the summer.

PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said: “Pet owners need to be aware of the harm that hot weather can cause to pets. Their smaller body size makes them particularly susceptible to heatstroke and they can’t tell us when they’re too hot in their fur coats. So it’s up to owners to spot the signs and ensure they remain happy and healthy in the heat.”

With a bit of care and attention, we can ensure our pets have fun and don’t suffer in the sunshine.

BBQ fun can spell danger for pets

When the temperatures rise, the lure of the barbecue is irresistible. While our taste buds are tempted by smokey flavours, take a look at the precautions we recommend at PDSA to keep your pets safe:

  • Skip the scraps: Eating barbecue scraps can upset your pet’s stomach. Undercooked, unfamiliar or fatty food can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • Bin it: Throw away any leftover food and rubbish into a lidded dustbin. At PDSA our vets often see pets who have eaten corn on the cob cores. These can cause a serious blockage and need removing by surgery. 

  • Keep fuel well out of reach. Lighter fluid can prove fatal if ingested as it contains hydrocarbons, which are derived from crude oil.

  • Keep pets well away from flames and glowing embers. With all that fur around, your four-legged friends could get severe burns. So make sure they steer clear. 

  • Slap on the sun cream. Pets can suffer from sunburn and heatstroke just like us. So give your pets some suncream, shade and plenty of water. For white fur or damaged skin, special pet sun creams are available from pet shops.

  • Think when you drink. Keep glasses and drinks out of reach of thirsty pets. Alcohol can be particularly hazardous for pets. Use plastic cups as glass bottles, mugs and tea cups can easily smash into splinters to pierce paws.

Travelling safely with pets

Keeping your pets safe when you’re travelling means everyone can enjoy themselves. We know how you love to go away with your pets – it’s a great way to spend time with our four-legged friends, so here are some top tips for travelling this summer:

  • Download our Holiday and Your Pets leaflet. 

  • Secure your pet before you start. Using a suitable pet harness keeps you, your passengers and your pet safe in case there’s an accident.

  • Make sure your dog wears a correctly fitted seat belt harness. Cats should be secured in a sturdy good-sized carrier that’s securely positioned in your car.

PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, says: “Car travel can be very dangerous if a pet isn’t restrained. For example, a medium sized dog travelling in a car at 30mph could hurtle forward with the force of a polar bear should the car be involved in a crash. It’s vital that pets are properly secured when travelling in vehicles to guarantee both their safety, and that of the other passengers.”

  • To get your dog used to travelling in your car, introduce your pet to the car from an early age. 

  • Let them explore inside your parked car in their own time, under supervision in a safe area.

  • Leave the doors open so they can come and go as they please and reward their relaxed behaviour.

  • Gradually build up from this: first, get them used to the seat belt.

  • Then turn the engine on to help them get used to the noise.

  • When they are comfortable with this, go for a short drive.

  • Take dogs for a walk before the journey – this lets them burn off excess energy, so they don’t become restless.

  • Make regular stops. This lets your dog stretch their legs and relieve themselves to prevent “accidents” in the car. Only exercise on the lead if the area is unfamiliar. Provide plenty of fresh drinking water during breaks.

  • Never let dogs lean out of the window of a moving vehicle. Their eyes or nose can be injured by debris or small stones kicked up from the road. Pets have also been known to fall out, or be injured by passing vehicles.

  • Drive steadily. Try not to brake sharply or accelerate too fast as this can stress or frighten your pet.

Summer garden safety

We all love to spend time in the garden in the summer months. So do our pets. Here are a few simple precautions to keep our curious companions safe outside. PDSA recommend that all green-fingered pet owners carry out a ‘garden audit’ to prevent their pets from being poisoned:

  • Poisonous plants and onions. Certain plants are highly toxic and can be fatal. These include daffodils, lilies, laburnum, cherry laurel, castor oil bush and yew. Members of the onion family also give pets a poorly tummy. It’s best to keep these plants out of areas where pets have free access – and check before planting anything new.

    PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, says: “Garden treatments and some of our most common plants and flowers can actually pose a serious poisoning risk to cats, dogs and other pets. But a little extra vigilance will ensure that any hazards are kept well out of reach of prying paws.”

  • Control your chemicals. Many pesticides and herbicides can harm pets and other animals. These include slug pellets, weedkillers and bug sprays. Try safer alternatives, such as pet-friendly slug pellets. If you need to use chemicals, then always follow the instructions – and keep pets away from treated areas for the recommended period. Store any chemicals securely and out of reach of pets..

  • Check regularly for hazards. Remove any broken bottles, sharp stones and look out for other hazards. Curious cats will investigate anything that smells interesting, e.g. bins with food remains inside – while dogs will probably eat anything that captures their attention.

  • Avoid cocoa shell mulches. They are highly poisonous to pets as they contain high levels of theobromine. Just a few mouthfuls of mulch could kill a Cocker Spaniel. Avoid these altogether or keep pets away from areas where these are used.

Dangers on the beach

Beaches can be amazing places for dogs to exercise and have fun but it is important for owners to be aware of these possible dangers: 

  • Temperatures: It may feel cooler in sea breezes, but temperatures can still soar and cause heatstroke. Make sure your dog has constant access to a cool, shaded area and fresh water. Avoid the hottest parts of the day and be ready to head home if your dog has had enough.
  • Sea swimming: Not all dogs can swim! Some short legged breeds like corgis find it especially hard and all dogs of any breed will need to learn how to swim. If you don’t know whether your dog can swim, testing it in the sea can be very dangerous.
  • Sand: Eating sand deliberately or accidentally can be incredibly dangerous as it impacts in dog’s intestines and causes a blockage. This is an emergency situation and they will require surgery to remove the blockage. Even throwing toys on a beach can cause dogs acidentally swallow sand.
  • Seawater:  Try not to let your dog drink sea water as it can make them sick. Make sure they have fresh water to drink at all times and rinse them off when you leave the beach or when you get home. This will stop them licking any salt water off their fur and prevent it making their skin sore.
  • Tides: Always check tide times before you visit the beach. This will help keep your whole family safe.
  • Seaweed: Seaweed stalks can be incredibly dangerous if eaten as they can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine. Dried seaweed can also cause a problem as it expands when it's eaten.
  • Jellyfish: Some types of Jellyfish can give a nasty sting to people and dogs, so check the water before swimming and don’t let dogs investigate washed up jellyfish on the beach.

Cats and dogs

Never leave pets in cars, conservatories or caravans. Not just for a few minutes, even with windows open. You may be delayed. Temperatures can soar in minutes. They can get dangerously high and your pet may be unable to regulate its normal body temperature. This can lead to kidney failure, long term damage to other organs – and it can easily kill your pet with heatstroke.

Water for cats and dogs

Give them constant access to clean, fresh drinking water. Check their water bowls twice a day. Take plenty of water if you go out with them.

How much sun should my pets get?

  • Don’t let pets sit out in strong sunshine for too long.

  • Ensure they always have access to shade. 

  • To avoid sunburn: Use pet sun block to protect pets with pale or thin fur from sunburn. Use especially on hairless areas such as dogs’ noses and cats’ ear tips. 

  • Avoid walking dogs in the midday heat. Take them out in the morning and evening when it is cooler. 

  • Keep your pet’s hair short to keep them cool. Getting dogs clipped for summer can make a big difference.

How do I know if my pet has heatstroke and what should I do?

  • The signs of heatstroke in cats and dogs are excessive panting, extreme salivation, distress and collapse. If this happens you have a couple of options to reduce their temperature:

    1. Immerse your pet into cool, but not ice cold, water and gradually decrease the water temperature. Don’t throw icy water over them, as this decreases their temperature too quickly.
    2. Wrap your pet up in towels soaked in cool, but not ice cold water – change them frequently – and place them near a fan.
  • Make sure they have as much cold water to drink as they want.

  • Vigorously massage the legs to help maintain the blood flow. 

  • Take your pet to your vet, even if they seem to have made a full recovery, in case there is any long-term damage.

Rabbits & Guinea Pigs

Give them shade to keep them safe

  • Rabbits and guinea pigs are very vulnerable to heatstroke. 

  • Their hutch roof must be solid for shade and safety. 

  • Their exercise run should also have a covered area. 

  • Move their hutch and run into a shaded area to protect them from the entire arc of the sun if the weather gets very warm. 

  • Never house rabbits or guinea pigs in glass buildings, such as greenhouses.

Keep them well watered

  • Make sure your pets’ bottle is topped up with fresh water to help prevent overheating. 

  • Leave a glass jar filled with ice cubes, so they have something cool to lie against in hot weather.

How do I know if my pet has heatstroke and what should I do?

  • The signs of heatstroke in rabbits or guinea pigs include lethargy, drooling and shallow, rapid breathing. As the condition worsens, they may fit, which increases their body temperature further. Eventually, the condition can progress to death. 

  • Heat stroke usually occurs when guinea pigs are exposed to temperatures above 28°C.

  • Heatstroke effects may be seen when temperatures are as low as 21°C, especially in obese, stressed or pregnant individuals.

  • If they start to get heat stroke, wrap them in a cool, damp towel and take them away from direct sunlight before calling your vet straight away.

What is flystrike and how does it affect my rabbit?

Check your rabbits at least twice a day in summer as they can be prone to maggot infestations, called flystrike. Flies are attracted to dirty fur and lay their eggs, which hatch into maggots. If your rabbit’s bottom is dirty, clean it gently with a damp cloth. If you spot any maggots call your vet immediately as they can often be fatal.

Small rodents: Hamsters, Rats, Mice and Gerbils

Give pets some shade. Position their cage out of direct sunlight and away from places likely to become hot.

Keep them watered. Make sure your pets’ bottle is topped up with fresh water to help prevent overheating.

How do I know if my pet has heatstroke and what should I do?

As with guinea pigs and rabbits, the signs of heatstroke include lethargy, drooling and unconsciousness. If this happens, wrap your pet in a cool, damp cloth and call your vet for advice. 

Keep them cool when you take them in your car, e.g. to a vet’s appointment. Keep windows open when the car is moving . Never leave them in a parked car, even with the windows down, or if it seems cloudy outside – temperatures can rise very quickly.

Fish and fish ponds

  • Keep fish tanks in a cool area to prevent overheating – and keep an eye on the temperature.

  • Ensure your fish pond has both shaded areas, plus deeper areas, so fish can go to cooler waters in hot weather.