Dogs Trust urges owners to avoid walking dogs during the hottest parts of the day

Lifestyle / Tue 25th Jun 2024 at 03:21pm

AS the mercury is set to rise to 30°C, Dogs Trust Basildon urges owners to avoid walking dogs during the hottest parts of the day.

As the UK Health Security Agency issues yellow heat alerts for most of England, Dogs Trust Basildon is urging owners not to walk their dogs during the hottest parts of the day.    

With temperatures set to reach 30oC in part of the UK, Dogs Trust is warning that exercising dogs in warm weather can lead to severe health problems in our canine companions. 

Dogs can’t regulate their body heat in the same way as humans, so extra care needs to be taken in hot weather. If dogs are too hot and can’t sufficiently reduce their body temperature by panting, they may develop heatstroke which can be fatal. 

Brachycephalic, or “flat-faced”, breeds such as English Bulldogs, Pugs and French Bulldogs, are especially vulnerable in hot weather. 

Signs of heatstroke include panting heavily, drooling excessively, appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated, vomiting, diarrhoea, and collapsing.  

A recent study1 showed that nearly 75% of cases of heat-related illness in UK dogs were because of exertion, and over two thirds were just from walking only.  

Dogs Trust has shared the following advice to owners if they suspect their dog is experiencing heatstroke: 

  • Act immediately to prevent your dog’s condition getting worse.  
  • Cool first, transport second.  
  • Stop them from playing, walking or whatever activity they’re doing and move the dog to a shaded and cool area  
  • Start cooling them down urgently. For young, conscious, healthy dogs, this means immersing them in cold water, for example in a paddling pool if possible, keeping their head above water. Use any water available, provided it is cooler than your dog. If immersion is not possible, continuous dousing with cold water is an alternative.  
  • For older dogs or dogs with health conditions, spray them with room temperature water, avoiding their face, and combine with air movement from a breeze, fan or air conditioning. Place ice, wrapped in a tea towel to prevent ice burns, in their groin and armpits.   
  • Always closely monitor cooling and stop if you notice signs of shivering  
  • Don’t place a wet towel over them as this can raise their temperature.  
  • Call your vet urgently for further advice and transport them there as quickly as is safely possible. Keep the air conditioning on in the car or the windows open.   
  • If your dog has collapsed or is struggling to breathe, call your nearest vet immediately.   

Dogs Trust also advises that dogs should never be left alone in cars as even just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal. As dogs can’t cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.   

If you see a dog in a car in distress, the charity advises that members of the public call 999 immediately.  

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director of Dogs Trust, says:  

“Dogs can’t regulate their body heat in the same way as humans, so extra care needs to be taken. As owners, we need to know the signs that our dogs are getting too hot and help them take a rest and cool down when they need to. Some dogs aren’t good at self-regulating and may continue to run and play even though they’re hot and tired, which increases their risk of heatstroke.

“If you do spot the signs of heatstroke in your dog, take steps to cool them down and contact your vet immediately.”   

To find out more about how to keep your dog safe this summer, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/hotweather  

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