Here's how to keep your pets safe from the sun

Here's how to keep your pets safe from the sun

I’m a vet – here’s how to keep your pets safe and cool during the UK’s ‘second summer’

  • Dr Lily Richards advises pet parents to stock up on ‘pet-friendly’ sunscreen 
  • READ MORE: What you should NEVER do as a pet owner in a heatwave 

As the promise of a ‘second summer’ is dangled above us, we can’t resist the idea of heading to the beach or frolicking in the park.

Unfortunately the summer is not so lovely for our furry friends who may need protection from the scorching hot sun, warns Devon-based vet, Dr Lily Richards.

As we arm ourselves with sunscreen and insect repellent before stepping out, it’s important we do the same for our pets so they can be kept ‘safe’.

Dr Richards explains: ‘As we all get out and about more this summer, it is of great importance that your pets are summer ready too. 

‘Make sure they are up to date with their health checks and vaccinations to ensure they stay safe and can enjoy the sunshine with you’.

Pet-sitting experts TrustedHousesitters, alongside Devon-based vet Dr Richards, have revealed four ways to keep your pets safe in the summer heat (Pictured: Stock image of a pet cat lazily taking in the sun’s rays)

Here, pet-sitting experts TrustedHousesitters, alongside vet Dr Richards, reveal four ways to keep your pets safe in the summer heat.

Brush off the winter coat 

Many of us can’t resist cuddling our extra furry pets, but this thicker coat has a functional purpose in that it keeps them warm in the winter. 

Dr Richards says the fur can act as a winter coat, something humans wouldn’t dream of wearing in the summer. 

Although spring shedding occurs naturally, helping the process along will help keep your pet cooler as temperatures rise.  

‘Brushing our pets and keeping their fur trimmed in the summertime helps them shed their thicker undercoat, ensuring they don’t overheat in the sun while enjoying time with the family’.

However, she sternly warns overzealous pet parents not to shave their pets, as it can result in an uncomfortable coat.

Stock up on pet-friendly suncream 

Just like us, our pets are also susceptible to sunburn – especially ones with white fur or even hairless animals.

Overexposure to the sun can bring on severe sunburn, leading to the risk of sun-related cancers like skin cancer.

If you choose to take your dog for a walk in the sun, Dr Richards says ensuring the route is safe for your pet in hotter temperatures is key (Stock image)

To reduce risk and keep your pet out of harm’s way, pick up a pet-friendly sun screen – but Dr Richards warns the standard human products we find in pharmacies are not suitable. 

‘Don’t be tempted to use human sun cream as some of them contain zinc, salicylates, and propylene glycol, which are toxic to pets, and can cause problems if ingested,’ she says. 

Map out a safe walking route 

Some dog owners may choose to skip daily walks altogether in a bid to keep off the sun’s blazing rays. After all, according to Angela Laws, head of community at Trusted Housesitters, during wet weather ‘some breeds can ‘skip a walk and be fine, so long as they’re fed and have a toilet break’.

But if you’ve got your eyes on a scenic walk through the park, Dr Richards says it’s important to ensure you’re taking a safe walking route for your pet when temperatures are hotter. 

With pets much lower to the ground, their bodies easily absorb the heat from asphalt and other hot surfaces. This, combined with fur layers and increased heart rates, greatly increases your pet’s chances of overheating. 

Try walking your pet on a shaded route to prevent their little paws burning, or ‘if possible, opt for a grassy walk where routine summer pesticide spraying is unlikely’.

It’s also advisable to keep them out of cars in the summer months if temperatures become too extreme.

‘Walk dogs in the cooler parts of the day, either early morning or evening, to prevent overheating. You should take extra care with those that are prone to overheating, like flat-faced dogs, older dogs or younger pups’.

Pesky summer plants can also be detrimental to your pet’s health – particularly if they are poisonous. Daffodils (pictured in stock image) are just one of the toxic flowers to keep your pet away from

Check for new insect nests 

The buzzing sound of wasps is enough to stir fear in the hearts of many humans as they run a mile to avoid their dreaded sting.

Ensure you protect your pet in the same way by warding off pesky summer insects, particularly in places like the garden, balcony or patio.

The expert says pet owners can go a little further by ridding outdoor areas of insect nests – with the help of a professional if needed. 

Insect stings can also cause your pet to have moderate to severe allergic reactions.

Dr Richards’ list of plants you should keep your pets away from

Following on from these tips, make sure you’re not putting your pet in the path of dangerous toxic flowers.

Dr Richards has made a list of the most common summer poisonous plants to keep your pet away from:

Elephant’s Ear






Aloe Vera


Baby’s Breath

Sago Palm


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