ANIMAL charities across Scotland are urging pet owners to take extra care during the heatwave.

The temperature in the UK has risen above 40C for the first time ever with the Met Office issuing a warning to be careful in the heat and that temperatures were continuing to rise.

Dogs Trust has been providing tips on how to keep canines safe and cool which includes always taking plenty of water with you when out with the dog and making sure that tarmac isn’t too hot for them to walk on.

Their veterinary director Paula Boyden said: “There are so many things we can do to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy in hot weather, but it is crucial we keep a close eye on them, even if playing indoors.

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“If you want to spend time in your garden with your dog, make sure they have plenty of shade and if they have shown they are comfortable around water, introduce them carefully to a shallow paddling pool in the shade.

“If you do need to head out in the car with your dog, please be very careful.

“Many people still believe it’s ok if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is it’s not and we strongly advise that dog owners never leave their dog in a car on a warm day, even if it feels cool outside.”

Dogs Trust advise that members of the public call 999 if they see an animal in distress inside a car.

As well as pets, the heatwave can also impact wildlife in their natural habitat.

The SPCA’s chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Wild animals need our help during hot weather too, you can leave water out for visiting wildlife.

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“Keep outdoor enclosures for small animals out of direct sunlight – pop a wet towel over the enclosure without blocking the ventilation to keep them extra cool.

“Make sure all animals, including any outdoor pets or farm animals, have access to ample water and shade.”