Pets at Home is alerting pet owners to the potential dangers of artificial grass during the summer months.

With the increasing popularity of astro turf in UK gardens, many are unaware of the risks it poses to their pets’ sensitive paws. The Met Office predicts that 2024 could be one of the hottest years on record, making vigilance essential this summer.

New research from Pets at Home reveals that while 76% of pet owners are aware of the dangers of hot pavements, only 42% understand that astro turf can also be hazardous. Kathryn Patel, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, explains, “Astro turf is relatively new to homes, so pet owners might not realise the risks. Artificial grass, largely made from plastic, can reach temperatures as high as 40 degrees on very hot days, much hotter than natural grass. The same rules apply as for hot pavements – check it with your hand, and if it’s too hot to touch, it’s not safe for your pet.”

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe This Summer

Kathryn Patel shares additional tips for keeping pets safe both at home and away during the hot summer months.

Pet-Friendly Sun Cream: Research indicates that 12% of pet owners admit to using human sun cream on their dogs. Specially designed sun creams for pets are available, containing ingredients safe for use on their ears and nose. Dogs and cats with light and short coats can benefit from wearing sun cream.

Beach Safety: When visiting the beach, remember that dogs may not be accustomed to running on sand, which can cause joint and orthopaedic injuries due to its uneven and shifting surface. Ensure your dog does not overexert itself and always check the sand’s temperature with your hand before allowing your dog to play on it.

Proper Restraint During Car Trips: Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that dogs must be suitably restrained in cars at all times. With the staycation boom, this rule is particularly important. Pets at Home research shows that 43% of pet owners didn’t realise they could face a £5,000 fine if their dog isn’t properly restrained. In the event of an accident, lack of restraint could also void your insurance. Always use the appropriate harness for your dog’s size, purchased from a reputable supplier. The Pets at Home 3 Peaks harness, crash tested to FMVSS 213 child restraint systems standards, ensures safety and prevents driver distraction.

Natural Cooling Methods: Resist trimming or shaving your pet’s fur to keep them cool. Their fur acts as insulation, helping to regulate their body temperature naturally. On very hot days, move their bed to a cool, shady spot and encourage them to stay out of the sun. Provide cool, damp towels or cooling pads for them to lie on.

Fish Pond Care: With soaring temperatures, fish kept outdoors may be at risk. Monitor oxygen levels in fish ponds, increasing them through warmer days with pond air pumps, fountains, or other surface-agitating water features. Submerged aquatic plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis but can also remove oxygen through respiration, particularly at night. Regularly monitor plant growth and remove any dead and decaying material to maintain a healthy environment.

Pets at Home’s research highlights the importance of raising awareness about the potential dangers of hot artificial grass and other summer hazards. By following these tips, pet owners can ensure the safety and well-being of their pets during the hot months ahead.