Animal welfare and veterinary groups have joined forces to urge owners not to walk their dogs in the heat.
Alongside their annual campaign warning of the risks of leaving dogs in hot cars and conservatories, the British Veterinary Association and other organisations, including the RSPCA and PDSA, want to raise awareness of the dangers of exercising canine companions in high temperatures.
The ‘Dogs Die in Hot Cars’ coalition is highlighting heat-related illness, and advising owners how they can prevent their dogs suffering from sunstroke, overheating, or burnt pads from scorching pavements.
“Heat-related illness can lead to organ failure, brain damage, and ultimately death,” explained the Royal Veterinary College’s associate professor in companion animal epidemiology, Dr Dan O’Neil.
“The reality is that more than 10 times as many dogs need veterinary treatment for heat-related illness following exercise as for being overheated in cars.”
RSPCA dog welfare specialist Esme Wheeler added: “The message remains very simple — never leave a dog in a hot car because ‘not long’ is too long, and when it comes to walks, ‘if in doubt, don’t go out’.”
Signs of heat-related illness in dogs include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, especially if there is unusual noise or any blue/grey tinge to the tongue or gums, unusual tiredness, an unwillingness to play, and changes in behaviour.
Owners are advised to walk their dogs early or late in the day, or provide a paddling pool to keep their pets cool and entertained.