THE RSPCA is urging pet owners to make plans now to protect their beloved animals during the upcoming spell of hot weather.

The urgent advice comes as the UK Health Security Agency has issued a heat-health alert following Met Office forecasts of very high temperatures this weekend.

Every summer the RSPCA receives hundreds of reports of animals suffering from heat exposure, pets with heat burns on their paws from pavements, and dehydrated wild animals.

The charity is asking owners of all pets to make provisions now, and is also calling on animal champions to help look out for wildlife in the hot weather too.

READ MORE >> Heat health warning in place as Essex set for hottest day of the year

Esme Wheeler, RSPCA dog welfare specialist, said it’s vital pet owners start planning ahead now to make sure they do everything they can to keep pets safe during the summer.

She said: “By making a note of our top tips for keeping pets cools, as well as familiarising themselves with the signs of heatstroke in pets, owners will be taking fantastic steps to keeping their pets safe this week.

“With just a few simple tweaks to their routine and a bit of planning, you can make a huge difference to your pets comfort during the hot weather, and in some cases, you may well be saving their lives.”

READ MORE >> Protesters plan to block A12 near Colchester in campaign against fuel prices

She added dog owners should be particularly aware of the dangers of walking their pets during high temperatures, labelling it a “silent killer” for dogs.

“We have long-campaigned about the risk of dogs dying in hot cars, but this year we’re highlighting that dogs die on hot walks, too,” said Ms Wheeler.