With very hot weather being forecast over the coming days pet owners are being reminded it is important that dog owners take some simple steps to protect their faithful friends from heat stroke and discomfort.
These steps include:
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car, even if the car is parked in the shade or with windows open. The temperature inside the car may rise rapidly, causing heat stroke which can be fatal.
- Make sure your dog has a shaded area available to shelter from direct sunlight.
- Dogs should always have access to plenty of fresh water both inside and outdoors; this is especially important during hot weather.
- It is preferable to exercise dogs in the morning or evening, when the temperatures are cooler than in the middle of the day. On longer walks, bring water for your dog to drink (collapsible bowls can be useful).
- Surfaces that heat up in the sun, such as tarmac, pavements and sand, may be painful for your dog’s paws. If the surface is too hot for you to touch, walk your dog on grass or in shaded areas instead.
- Regular grooming/clipping of dogs, particularly those with long or thick hair, helps dogs regulate their body temperature during hot weather.
- As dogs can get sunburn, especially dogs with thin coats and/or white hair, limit their exposure to direct sunlight and apply sunscreen to their ear tips and bridge of their nose if necessary. Check with your vet, who can advise on suitable sunscreen for dogs.
- Be aware of the signs of heat stroke. If dogs become too hot, this may lead to heat stroke, a serious condition which can be fatal. Signs of heat stroke include heavy panting, drooling, lethargy, confusion, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness or seizures. If you suspect your dog has heat exhaustion or heat stroke, please seek immediate veterinary attention and try to cool the dog down by moving to a cooler location, preferably indoors, wetting their body, ears and paws with cool (not very cold) water and offering small volumes of cool or lukewarm (not cold) water to drink.
- Don’t forget our feathered friends if you have a bird bath fill it with fresh water if you don’t fill up a pot or pan and leave close to a feeding station.