Hot Dogs: Vets urge owners to protect pets against rising temperatures
As temperatures soar in the UK this week, vets are warning owners about the dangers their pets face.
The move builds on findings from the British Veterinary Association’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey that show nearly half of vets questioned treated animals for conditions related to hot weather during Summer 2014.
More than one in three small/mixed practice vets (36%) said they had seen cases of heat stroke last summer, while a similar proportion (31%) had seen animals with other conditions relating to hot weather.
Most common were respiratory problems and worsening of conditions affecting the heart or lungs (seen by 11% of small animal/mixed practice vets).
Respondents also reported seeing heat-related skin conditions, fly strike, as well as stress, exhaustion, collapse and lethargy.
Overwhelmingly, vets who had seen heat-related conditions treated dogs, with 9% mentioning small mammals (such as rabbits and guinea pigs), 8% mentioning cats and 4% other animals.
The BVA is urging dog owners to take extra care to keep their pets healthy and happy in the sunshine and contact their veterinary practice immediately if they are concerned
The organisation advises owners not to leave animals in cars, keep them hydrated and well-supplied with fresh air, provide them with adequate rest and shade and watch out for signs of illness.
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. If your pet is affected by the heat the quicker you get help the better the animal’s chances of survival.”
Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.