Dog owners warned to be aware of heatstroke dangers as temperature set to rise

By Steve Neville

An animal welfare charity has urged dog owners to be aware of the dangers of heatstroke.

Dogs Trust says that hotter weather can be dangerous for dogs.

Temperatures are to range from the late teens to 20s this week, with Met Éireann saying Wednesday could see the mercury rise to 24 degrees.

Dogs Trust is asking dog owners, especially those with older, overweight or ‘flat-faced’ dogs to be extra vigilant and to look out for signs of heatstroke.

Symptoms include excessive panting, red gums and tongue, heavy salivation, vomiting or diarrhoea, lack of coordination or loss of consciousness.

Dogs Trust is also urging people to walk their dogs early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures have cooled down.

They add: “If walking on tarmac, try the 'seven-second test'; if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws.”

The charity is also warning of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, saying it can be “fatal”.

They said: “Just a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal to your dog with temperatures inside rising from 22 to 33 degrees in just 10 minutes.

“Even if the car is parked in the shade and the windows are left down, it does very little to keep the car cool.”

Dogs Trust has issued some advice on keeping dogs safe on hot days:

  • Be sure not to over exercise your dog and bring plenty of fresh water with you if you’re going for a walk.
  • Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water, you can add ice cubes to help keep it cooler for longer.
  • Make sure your dog has shaded areas to cool off in, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Place a damp towel in a shaded spot for your dog to lie on to keep them even cooler. Don’t forget to replace or rewet it regularly though as it can dry out quickly.
  • Don’t allow your dog to get too much sun. Just like people, they can get sunburnt too – especially dogs with white or very thin coats. Dogs with black coats also need to be vigilant as their dark coat absorbs the sunlight.
  • Be extra vigilant with very young, old, and overweight dogs. Dogs with shorter muzzles or flatter faced dogs and dogs with breathing difficulties are more prone to overheating.
  • Freezing some of your dog’s favourite toys in water or making a dog friendly ice-pop with frozen treats inside will encourage them to lick the ice which will hydrate them.

“This summer, we are appealing to owners to walk their dogs at cooler times of the day such as early morning and late evening as dogs can’t cool themselves down the same way as humans can,” said Deborah Martin, Campaigns Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland.

“Please take water with you and if you think it’s too warm to walk your dog, don’t bring them out, a missed walk or two is much better than risking potentially fatal heatstroke for your dog.”

Jennifer Conefrey, a veterinary nurse with Dogs Trust Ireland, added: “If your dog displays any signs of heatstroke please seek urgent veterinary advice immediately.

“The sooner this happens, the better chance your dog has of making a full recovery.”

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