Animal Welfare In Hot Weather

Defra have produced a document to help clarify peoples responsibilities when caring for, working with or transporting animals during hot weather. Recent media coverage which involved two police dogs perishing after being kept in a police vehicle, together with a recent spate of hot weather, has brought this issue to light. High temperatures and humidity, particularly sudden changes in conditions, can pose a major threat to animal welfare. The following basic advice is for farmers, transporters, pet owners and others to help them avoid problems. There is a legal obligation for those looking after animals to avoid causing them unnecessary suffering, and to avoid subjecting them to conditions where this is likely to occur. It is an offence if the welfare of an animal is compromised due to a failure to take appropriate action in response to extremes of temperature.


  • Never leave your pet in a vehicle, especially in sunshine or high temperatures.
  • Ensure pets have access to shade and water.
  • Don’t let your pet become sunburnt (animals can suffer from sunburn too, particularly white dogs and cats).
  • In hot weather, walk your dog at cooler times of the day.

Agricultural Animals

Farmed animals should be provided with adequate protection and shelter in accordance with the law and welfare codes. It is particularly important that animals have access to shade and water during hot weather. Livestock keepers should also inspect their animals often and take necessary action to correct any problems.

Transporting Animals

Those transporting animals, including agricultural animals, should take action to avoid problems in hot weather. Things to consider include: Factoring potential weather conditions into the planning of any journey (for example not loading or moving animals during the hottest parts of the day). Improved ventilation of the vehicle should be considered and implemented where necessary. Provision for increased space allowances should be made. Water and electrolytes should be provided more frequently. More information is available on the Defra website.