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Dogs and hot weather – facts we ALL need to know

With temperatures soaring across the Province, this vital message from the RSPCA must be taken on board.

Don’t leave your dog alone in a car.

When it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes.

Dogs pant to keep cool. In hot stuffy cars dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens won’t keep your car cool enough.

If you see a dog in a car on a warm day, call the Police on 999. If the police are unable to attend, please call our 24-hour cruelty line 0300 1234 999.

Heatstroke – early warning signs

Heatstroke can be fatal. Some dogs are more prone than others:

  • dogs with short snouts
  • fatter/muscley dogs
  • long-haired breeds
  • old/young dogs
  • dogs with certain diseases/on certain medication

Heatstroke develops when dogs can’t reduce their body temperature.

Symptoms include:

  • heavy panting
  • profuse salivation
  • rapid pulse
  • very red gums/tongue
  • lethargy
  • lack of coordination
  • reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of consciousness.

Heatstroke – first aid

Act quickly, heatstroke can be fatal! If dogs show any signs of heatstroke, move them to a shaded, cool area. Ring your vet immediately.

Urgently, gradually lower their body temperature:

  • Immediately douse them with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock – you could use a shower, or spray and place them in the breeze of a fan.
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
  • Continue dousing until their breathing settles – never cool dogs so much that they begin shivering.

Once your dog is cool, immediately go to the vet.

  • Your dog must always be able to move into a cooler, ventilated environment.
  • Never leave dogs alone in cars, glass conservatories or caravans even if it’s cloudy.
  • If you do leave dogs outside, you must provide a cool shady spot where they can escape from the sun.
  • Always provide good supplies of drinking water, in a weighted bowl that can’t be knocked over. Carry water with you on hot days.
  • Groom dogs regularly to get rid of excess hair. Give long-coated breeds a haircut at the start of summer.
  • Never allow dogs to exercise excessively in hot weather.
  • Dogs can get sunburned – particularly those with light-coloured noses/fur on their ears. Ask your vet for advice on pet-safe sunscreen.

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