Our early spring this year has brought a pleasant surprise for the dog walkers and outdoor enthusiasts among us, bringing warmer weather that we would typically expect much later in the year. Whilst this has allowed beach visits and lovely walks in the great outdoors during a period of the year where we would usually have rain and wind, this does not bode entirely well looking forward for the rest of the year.
This year was begun with a mild and dry winter, and whilst this was certainly nothing to complain about at the time, it means that the rainfall coming into this year was quite low. Now that we have reached what would normally be a rainy season, the lack of rain can only lead to problems for reservoirs and rivers in the long run, leading to further problems for the wildlife that rely on these bodies of water. Drought is a serious issue across the country that can lead to serious impacts on wildlife and humans alike; we’re now starting to see these issues, such as the wildfires that have swept through dry brush land recently and the potential hosepipe bans that are being discussed.
Suddenly it will not just be the fish in the rivers and the animals that use the river as a food supply that are being affected; instead, it will be everyone across the affected areas. We can expect widespread ‘hosepipe’ bans and water consumption guidelines to be put into place that will control our water consumption – the western world is very excessive when it comes to water consumption and many aspects of business rely heavily on water resources. Agriculture involving livestock and crop farming require massive amounts of water to provide their high levels of produce; when water costs increase, this will impact food costs and so we must expect our supermarket trips to start costing us that little bit more.
This heat can be dangerous for pets as well as humans. Heatstroke is a very real threat and should not be taken lightly, and we all know the dangers of leaving a pet in a hot car during the day. With a lack of water, remaining hydrated and healthy will become just that bit more difficult, so ensure that your pet’s water bowl remains as full as possible to help prevent any heat related issues – along with this, ensure that there is plenty of shade available for any pets so they can escape the heat when it is at its worst. Using the hose or playing with ice can be a great way to keep your pet hydrated and cool when the heat gets to be too much.
Efforts are being made to relocate fish in certain areas of the country that have become dry and unable to sustain fish levels in the river beds that are quickly drying up. Whilst this is a step in the right direction and certainly a better alternative than letting them die, we must understand that preventative measures need to be undertaken to prevent this kind of effect from occurring again. Desalination plants and better control of our waterways will allow a steadier supply of water, whilst river management and reservoir control will allow us to maintain wildlife levels by ensuring that a necessary amount of water is available at all times.
This warm weather is a great surprise for this time of year, and we should certainly make the most of it while we can, but spare a thought for the wildlife around your garden and consider putting out a small bowl of water and a feeder placed up high for the birds and other animals that may be suffering without water or sufficient food. Remember to stay safe in the heat with sun cream and spare a quick thought for the animals around you, be they domesticated or wild, as they will be suffering a lot more without a voice to protest.
For more information about how to care for animals during warm weather, visit our blog, article and guide pages. Insuring your pet gives you peace of mind that you and your pet will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for dogs, cats and horses, and we also insure older pets.