As temperatures soar, Dogs Trust is offering summer safety tips to make sure dogs can stay safe in the sun, and still have fun with their families.
The charity advises that dogs should never be left alone in cars as even just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal. On a 22-degree Celsius day, the temperature inside a car could rise by eleven degrees in just ten minutes and as dogs can’t cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.
“We all want to have fun and head out with our dogs whatever the weather, but sadly every year we hear of dogs getting in distress because they are left in cars on warm days,” said Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden. “Many people still believe it’s OK if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s not and we strongly advise that dog owners should never leave their dog in a car on a warm day, even if it feels cool outside.”
To ensure owners can still have fun in the sun on warm days, Dogs Trust also advises:
– Avoid walking your dog at the hottest times of the day, so early morning or later in the evening is often best and whenever you go out, take plenty of water with you.
– Tarmac can get very hot in the sun – check it with your hand before letting your dog walk on it so they don’t burn their paws. Try the ‘seven-second test’ – if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws
– Avoid long car journeys but if you do have to take your dog in the car, avoid the hottest and busiest times of the day, use a sunblind for shade, avoid congested roads as much as possible, take regular breaks and have plenty of water on board
The dog welfare charity also says that when heading out for a long walk isn’t an option, having fun with your dog indoors can be just as stimulating. They suggest playing indoor games such as making the most of feeding time by encouraging your dog to forage for their food using puzzle feeders, lay out treat trails around the house or hide their toys indoors.
If you do want to be outside in the garden with your dog, make sure they have plenty of shade and if they have shown they are comfortable around water, introduce them carefully to a shallow paddling pool in the shade.
“There are so many things we can do to make sure our dogs stay happy and healthy in hot weather, but it is crucial we keep a close eye on them, even if we are playing indoors,” Paula adds. “If we all do this, then hopefully we and our dogs will be able to enjoy a long hot summer.”
If you see a dog in a car in distress, the charity advises that members of the public call 999. Signs of a dog suffering from heatstroke include excessive panting, heavy salivation, vomiting or diarrhoea, lack of co-ordination or loss of consciousness.