November 27, 2021

Vet issues stark warning for dog owners walking pets during UK heatwave

Bank Holiday weekend might be over, but the heatwave is here to stay – at least for this week, anyway – as Brits up and down the country bask in highs of up to 28C.

But, while us humans might be enjoying the tropical weather, a vet has issued a stark warning for keeping our beloved pets safe in sunnier climes.

Sadly, many dogs can struggle to deal with hot temperatures, particularly given they aren’t able to sweat like humans, so they rely on panting to release the excess heat from their body. This is, of course, an extra struggle on top of the fact they’re wearing a thick layer of fur, which is akin to us going out in the sun wearing a winter coat.

A dog taking a drink from a water bottle
Dogs should always be kept hydrated, even on walks

Dogs can be susceptible to heatstroke, and one way to allow your dog to cool down when they need to is to carry water with you at all times, while avoiding being outside during the hottest time of the day, from 11am to 3pm.

“While we enjoy the sunshine and warm weather this week it is important to make sure our pets are kept safe. They can quickly overheat and sometimes this can be extremely dangerous and even fatal,” Alison Thomas, Senior Veterinary Surgeon at the Blue Cross hospital in Victoria, told the Mirror.

“Walk your dog at the cooler times of the day, either first thing in the morning or early evening and if your dog is one that needs a long walk to burn off excess energy, find other ways to stimulate them instead.”

Alison added: “A simple test to check if the tarmac is too hot to walk your dog is to take your own shoes off and stand on the path. If you are unable to keep your feet on the path for five seconds, then it is not safe to walk your dog.”

Dogs with fairer skin are also more like to get skin damage from too much direct sunlight, so the Blue Cross advises putting a T-shirt on their vulnerable areas, as well as applying non-toxic doggy sun block to their skin.

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