Dog owners issued with sunny lockdown warning
With temperatures set to average in the high teens or early 20s this week, Dogs Trust, Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, is warning the public of the serious dangers hotter weather can have for dogs.
Many people are still at home due to Covid-19 restrictions so sunny back gardens and barbeques are more popular than ever. The charity is asking dog owners, especially those with older, overweight or ‘flat-faced’ dogs to be extra vigilant and to look out for signs of heatstroke such as excessive panting, red gums and tongue, heavy salivation, vomiting or diarrhoea, lack of coordination or loss of consciousness.
As current lockdown restrictions allow people to exercise within 5km of their homes, walking more often has become appealing to break up more restricted daily routines. Dogs Trust is urging people to walk their dogs early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures have cooled down. If walking on tarmac, try the 'seven-second test'; if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws!
Just a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal to your dog with temperatures inside rising from 22 to 33 degrees in just 10 minutes. Even if the car is parked in the shade and the windows are left down, it does very little to keep the car cool. Dogs should never be left alone in a car, even a few minutes can prove fatal.
Dogs Trust has issued the following advice to keep dogs safe and well on hot days:
- Be sure not to over exercise your dog and bring plenty of fresh water with you if you’re going for a walk.
- Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water, you can add ice cubes to help keep it cooler for longer.
- Make sure your dog has shaded areas to cool off in, both indoors and outdoors.
- Place a damp towel in a shaded spot for your dog to lie on to keep them even cooler. Don’t forget to replace or rewet it regularly though as it can dry out quickly.
- Don’t allow your dog to get too much sun. Just like people, they can get sunburnt too – especially dogs with white or very thin coats. Dogs with black coats also need to be vigilant as their dark coat absorbs the sunlight.
- Be extra vigilant with very young, old, and overweight dogs. Dogs with shorter muzzles or flatter faced dogs and dogs with breathing difficulties are more prone to overheating.
- Freezing some of your dog’s favourite toys in water or making a dog friendly ice-pop with frozen treats inside will encourage them to lick the ice which will hydrate them!
Deborah Martin, Campaigns Manager, Dogs Trust Ireland says: “This summer, we are appealing to owners to walk their dogs at cooler times of the day such as early morning and late evening as dogs can’t cool themselves down the same way as humans can. Please take water with you and if you think it’s too warm to walk your dog, don’t bring them out, a missed walk or two is much better than risking potentially fatal heatstroke for your dog.
"If your dog loves to get their paws wet, consider a paddling pool to keep them cool and if out and about near water, consider keeping your dog on a long lead so you can allow them the freedom to swim but you can keep control of the situation. When your dog is at home, make sure they have a shaded spot they can lie down in, both indoors and outdoors. On very hot days, you can place a damp towel in their shady spot that they can lie on to keep them even cooler. Don’t forget to replace or re-wet it regularly though as it can dry out quickly.”
Jennifer Conefrey, Veterinary Nurse, Dogs Trust Ireland, advises: “If your dog displays any signs of heatstroke please seek urgent veterinary advice immediately! The sooner this happens, the better chance your dog has of making a full recovery. The main goal of treating heatstroke in dogs is to lower their body temperature quickly enough to prevent further damage to their vital organs, but not so quickly as to cause shock.”
For more information please visit www.DogsTrust.ie/CoolToBeKind
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