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Hot dogs: pets under threat as temperatures soar

BVA | British Veterinary Association

3 min read Partner content

As forecasters predict a spring heatwave, vets are warning that pets can struggle as the temperature rises

Dog owners should take extra care to keep their pets healthy and happy in the sunshine and contact their veterinary practice immediately if they are concerned, according to the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

The organisations warn that dogs may struggle in high temperatures as they are unable to cool down quickly through sweating, rendering them vulnerable to overheating.

Despite publicity campaigns in recent years, dogs still die in hot cars every summer or succumb to heatstroke as a result of over-exertion on walks and daytrips.
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BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey showed that last summer nearly half of all vets (48%) treated animals for conditions related to hot weather.

As this summer approaches they are outlining simple steps to help keep dogs safe in the heat, including not leaving them in vehicles, keeping water bowls full and providing adequate ventilation while avoiding exercise and seeking shade in the hottest part of the day. 

They also urge owners to watch out for early signs of heatstroke, such as heavy panting, and contact a vet immediately if the animal does not respond to efforts to cool it down.

Vet John Blackwell, President of the BVA, said: “As it gets hotter this summer, all owners need to think about taking simple steps to ensure their pets are happy and healthy during the warm weather.

“Most people know that dogs should never be left in cars by themselves, even when the day is warm as opposed to hot, but it can be tempting to ignore advice if you think you won’t be gone for long.

“Leaving the car windows open and a bowl of water is not enough. As a dog can only cool down through its tongue and paw pads, it cannot react quickly enough to cope with the rapidly rising heat inside a car.

“Dogs are also vulnerable to heatstroke while out with their owners. I see animals in my practice every summer that have overheated while out walking or exercising. A dog won’t stop enjoying itself because it is hot, so it’s up to the owner to stop the animal before it suffers.

“Older dogs and those with respiratory problems are particularly susceptible but it’s sensible to keep a close eye on any dog on warmer days. The quicker you get help the better the animal’s chances of survival.”

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