Your pictures: Keeping your pets safe in the sun

Humphrey, Alfred and Maggie were out early on the beach in Cornwall to avoid the heat of the sun. Credit: Emma Rodwell

We have been inundated with pictures of your pets soaking up the sun or taking a welcome bath to keep cool. Thank you for all your photos - we've included a selection - and here is some advice for keeping them safe in the heat.

The Dogs Trust offers a number of tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy in warm weather:

  • Provide shade and water - Make sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of fresh water throughout the day. 

  • Plan your walkies - Walk your dog in the early morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler. This will reduce their risk of heatstroke. Be particularly careful if your dog is old, overweight or suffers from breathing difficulties. Exercise is the most common trigger for heat-related illness, so take care not to overexert your dog.

  • Do the seven second tarmac test - Tarmac can get very hot in the sun and could burn your dog’s paws. Check the pavement with your hand before letting your dog walk on it — hold your hand down for seven seconds, if it's too hot for you, then it's too hot for your dog's paws. 

  • Don't let them get burnt - Keep your dog out of direct sunlight where you can. Use pet-safe sun cream on exposed parts of your dog’s skin, like the tips of their ears and nose. Ask your vet for more advice if needed.

  • Think twice about any car trips with your dog - If you do have to travel with your dog, plan your journey. Consider travelling at cooler times of the day, identify places to take breaks, and avoid congested roads or busy times of day when you could get caught in traffic. Never leave your dog in a vehicle. In just 20 minutes, a dog could die in a hot car. Winding a window down is not enough to help your dog stay cool. 

George from Taunton is looking a little hot - owners of white cats have to be careful about sunburn. Credit: Kate Tebbutt

Cats Protection also offers advice for our feline friends:

  • Provide plenty of shade inside and out - a cardboard box can make a useful sunshade. Many cats love soaking up the sun but overexposure can lead to skin cancer.

  • If your cat has white fur, try keeping them inside between 10am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest. Speak to a vet about suitable sunscreen for cats, to ensure they don’t suffer from sunburn.

  • Keeping your cat cool inside your home is important too. Place fans around the house to keep the air circulating, remembering not to point the fan directly at your cat.

  • Another handy tip is to freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel or pillowcase and place it somewhere your cat goes regularly. This stops them from feeling overheated during hotter spells. Make sure that your cat can get away from the bottle if they choose.

  • Make sure your cat keeps hydrated - avoid plastic bowls that can taint the taste of the water, keep them away from food bowls, keep the water topped up and maybe buy a cat fountain as they may prefer running water. You might also spread water bowls around the house so your cat has easy access.

You can also find out how to help wildlife in these extreme temperatures on the Dorset Wildlife Trust website.

Here are some of your pets coping in the hot weather:

Rebecca Smith's solution to the sun? A shady spot for her pooch in her Polperro garden - and an ice bath. Credit: Rebecca Smith
This boxer from Midsomer Norton does like to be beside the seaside in this weather. Credit: Boxer on a pebble beach beside the sea
This paddling pool in Bodmin is just the thing for a parched pooch. Credit: Lynn Sarikaya
This Barnstaple family have found the perfect solution for hot dogs. Credit: Joe Ball
We're not sure this kitty in Weston-super-Mare appreciated its cooling bath. Credit: Ben Peters
Sometimes a coat can be cooling - and sunglasses are always cool. Credit: Yasmin Longdon
Merlin didn't want to wait until the pool in his Salisbury backyard was full. Credit: Kelly Macklin
Lola has certainly made herself comfortable in her pool in Yeovil. Credit: Kim Cawley
This lady is hogging the air con at her home in Bridgwater. Credit: Nikie Duddridge
The heatwave meant baths all round in Emily Powell's house. Credit: Emily Powell
Come on in, the water's wonderful! Credit: Sarah Hailstone
Dogs like Milo here can suffer from exhaustion in hot weather - but he's bossing it on the hillside. Credit: Hannah Wallace
Sometimes you do everything to help out your pets and they prefer to do their own thing. Credit: Carolyn Davies