Five tips to help pets and wildlife beat the UK’s extreme heat

The UK Met Office has warned of rising temperatures in the next few days in parts of England and Wales, spelling trouble for wildlife. Here are five tips to help your pets and local wildlife beat the heat.

Provide fresh water

Extreme heat causes water sources to dry up, leaving birds and other wildlife dehydrated. Providing fresh water is a simple and effective way to help. A spokesperson from the RSPB said:

“A garden pond, no matter what size, benefits wildlife all year long, but is especially necessary in the heat. But even a shallow dish of water will help. Some animals and birds will want to bathe and cool down, others just to drink, so keep it topped up with clean water and refreshed daily. Add pebbles or some kind of ramp around the edge of any water source to help the smallest creatures climb in and out.”

Top up feeders

The dry conditions mean food is scarce for wildlife. Birds will be grateful for extra treats, as many raise their young in the summer months. The RSPB spokesperson said:

“Putting out fruit and seeds will help, in small quantities but often, to avoid it spoiling. A bowl of dog or cat food (not fish-based) at night will help hedgehogs. It’s essential to keep anything clean that you’re putting out – whether it’s a feeder or an upturned bin lid of water, as diseases can spread rapidly with different animals using them and in the heat. The RSPB advises giving bird feeders a clean once a week with soapy water and emptying bird baths daily.”

Let things go wild

Overgrown and shaded areas provide shelter for wildlife struggling in the heat. The RSBP spokesperson said:

“Shade is great for us, for our pets and certainly for our wildlife. A log pile will help lots of creatures to find a cool corner, from tiny woodlice to frogs and toads, as will longer grass. Avoid pruning and tidying up areas where leaves and branches are providing more shade.”

Refresh your pets

Keep pets in the shade and provide fresh drinking water. You can treat your dog to an ice lolly by mixing dog food with water and freezing it, or simply add ice cubes to a water bowl.

Help animals in distress

If you find a wild bird or mammal smaller than a rabbit in need of help, contact a local vet or rehabilitation centre – they usually don’t charge for treating wildlife. If the animal is larger than a rabbit, contact the RSCPA.

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