The weather is glorious and right now it feels as if the summer sunshine could just carry on forever.
But when you have your feet up in the back garden, blissfully gazing into the blue of the sky, spare a thought for your furry best friend who needs a little extra care during heatwaves.
Dogs react much differently to heat than you or I. They can’t sweat through their skin and so instead regulate their body temperature through panting as well as through releasing heat through their paw pads and nose.
Shockingly, it can take just a matter of minutes for a dog to die from heatstroke, and their doting humans need to be fully aware of the symptoms to watch out for.
1000s of dogs are left trapped in hot cars in the UK every summer. Once a dog has heatstroke, they can sustain brain damage or even die in minutes. If you see a dog in distress in a car today, call 999 immediately. PLEASE RT – you could save a life. #DogsDieInHotCars pic.twitter.com/mLmnxWOTtW
— PDSA (@PDSA_HQ) June 25, 2018
According to the Blue Cross, symptoms include collapsing, excessive panting, and dribbling.
Pet owners who spot these symptoms in their own dog are advised to move them to a cooler place, ideally where there is a draught.
People are also advised to dampen their dog’s coat with cool – but not freezing – water. They should contact their vet immediately after their suspicions are raised.
Find out more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars below:
Prevention is key to ensuring your dog’s safety during this scorching heat, and the Blue Cross has offered the following helpful tips:
Make sure your dog has access to clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim. Carry water and a bowl with you on walks.
On hot days, walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening.
Watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot and give your dog water.
Never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open.
Make cooling tasty treats by making ice cubes with your dog’s favourite food inside or stuff a Kong and pop it in the freezer.
Older and overweight dogs, as well as short-nosed breeds such as such as boxers and pugs are particularly vulnerable to heatstroke.
PLEASE RT – With a #heatwave on the way, make sure you keep an eye out for these warning signs. If you're concerned that your dog has #heatstroke, gradually cool your pet with water or water-soaked towels, and call your vet straight away for advice. #PetFirstAid #Summersafety pic.twitter.com/XQpEO3I1vc
— PDSA (@PDSA_HQ) June 24, 2018
— Aga Zoltowska (@agavet) July 1, 2018
Please please please be careful with your dogs in this weather. Don’t take them on walks in the afternoon heat, take them early morning/late at night when the sun isn’t in full force. The ground can burn their feet/heatstroke can kill them❗️
— Sara (@sara_davidson) June 29, 2018
Look after your dog this summer and make sure to read up further on the prevention of heatstroke.
As a dog owner myself, I had no idea how rapidly heatstroke can take hold and will be keeping a close eye on my good boy as the sun continues to blaze.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.