The charity says that sadly, too many dog owners are still not aware of the dangers that hot weather poses for dogs. Dogs cannot cool themselves down the same way as humans do and so rely on us to keep them safe in sunnier seasons.
Dogs Trust is urging owners to heed the weather warning and be especially vigilant with young puppies, older dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with flatter faces as they are at an even higher risk of heatstroke.
Common signs of heatstroke to watch out for include uncoordinated movements or collapse, altered or loss of consciousness, loss of vision, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, coma or bleeding. If heatstroke is suspected, seek veterinary attention immediately, the sooner this happens, the better chance the dog has of making a full recovery.
Niamh Curran Kelly, Veterinary and Welfare Manager, Dogs Trust Ireland, advises: “If you think your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, please do not delay in contacting a local vet. It is vital you do this as quickly as you can to give your dog the best chance of making a recovery. Move your dog to a cool, shaded area and dial the vet on speakerphone. Describe the symptoms your dog is experiencing and tell them that you think they may be suffering from heatstroke. While driving to the vet, drive with the windows down or air-conditioning on – this should help to reduce your dog’s core temperature.
“If you have to wait for transport to the vet, try to encourage your dog to drink small amounts of room-temperature water if they are alert, and gently pour small amounts of cool water on their body. The main goal of treating heatstroke is to lower your dog’s body temperature to normal as early as possible, but not so quickly that you cause them to go into shock.”
Ciara Byrne, Head of Communications, Dogs Trust Ireland, says: “While most of us relish the thought of heading out for a day of fun in the sun, our dogs may in fact be happier and safer at home where they can stay cool. The best option for your furry friend is to bring them out early in the morning before the real heat of the day sets in, or later in the evening when it’s cooled down again.
“If you’ll be walking on tarmac, try the ‘five-second test’; if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Please also make sure you bring lots of cool, fresh water with you to keep your dog hydrated and don’t forget to stop for rest breaks in shady areas too! While at home, make sure your dog has places where they can relax away from the sun both indoors and outdoors, and that they have access to water at all times. If you’re planning an adventure with your dog, be sure to check they’ll be welcome first as some parks and beaches unfortunately have restrictions for dogs at certain times of the year.”
The charity is also sharing an ever-important message to all dog owners; never EVER leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. 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. Contrary to what some people believe, parking in the shade and leaving windows down, does very little to keep temperatures low, so please never put your dog’s life at risk.