How to care for your dog during hot summer temperatures

  • By Caroline Denholm

Vets are warning owners to protect their pets as temperatures soar in the region and have put together these tips to help keep animals safe

Dog owners are being advised to keep their pets cool as a week of sizzling temperatures are forecast.  Animal welfare charity Dogs Trust is reminding pet owners not to leave their dogs in parked cars, even for a few minutes, as it can be fatal.

Dogs Trust says on a 22C (71.6F) day, the temperature inside a car could rise by 11C in just 10 minutes and because dogs cannot cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.

Earlier this week an American Bulldog Finlay was left fighting for his life after his body temperature soared to a life-threatening 42.2C (108F) during recent hot weather in Glasgow.

The one-year-old - who was born with three legs - became overheated when his owner took him to a park.

Dogs Trust also warns owners not to walk their pets during the hottest times of the day. Early morning or late evening walks are best, accompanied with water.

Hot tarmac can burn paws, while owners should also use sun blinds in their cars when they take their pets on long journeys.

How can I tell if my dog is suffering in the sun?

Excessive panting, anxious pacing or, in severe cases, collapsing or convulsing can be signs that your pet could be suffering from heatstroke and you should contact your vet immediately.

Never leave your pet unattended in the car, conservatory or outbuildings

Temperatures can rise to levels that can prove fatal. Opening a window, parking in the shade or leaving a bowl of water will not prevent heatstroke. Even leaving a pet for five minutes is long enough for it to be affected. Always take your dog out of the vehicle with you. Equally, conservatories or greenhouses can have the same effect when temperatures soar.

Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water

Just like humans, it is vital pets are well hydrated on hot days so ensure they have access to cool water and keep bowls topped up. Cats and dogs find it more difficult to regulate their temperature and are more likely to become dehydrated.

Watch for heatstroke

Excess panting, pacing and, in severe cases, collapsing or convulsing are signs your pet has heatstroke. Contact your vet immediately if you see these signs.

Avoid hot pavements when walking your dog

Pavements can become extremely hot and burn paws. Limping or licking feet could be signs of burnt paws. Walk pets at the coolest part of the day.

This is the hottest part of the day so keep pets out of direct sunlight when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Dogs and cats with white or thin coats are particularly at risk of sunburn, which can cause skin cancer. Use pet-safe suncream on areas of ears with thinner hair and noses.

Watch what they eat

Be extra vigilant if you are having a barbecue in case your pet jumps up to grab the food. Onions and alcohol are big dangers. Corn on the cob can cause blockages or choking, while kebab skewers can cause nasty injuries, so keep them out of your pet’s reach.

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