Dog heatwave warning: RSPCA reveals biggest dangers to pets in hot weather

Parts of the South East saw the mercury hit 31C on Tuesday, while the Met Office has issued a rare amber extreme heat warning across much of England and Wales for Sunday and next Monday. The RSPCA is urging owners to be aware of the risks the scorching temperatures pose to their dogs.

The charity said the “biggest dangers” can be “normal everyday tasks” like going for walks or out in the car.

It added that elderly pooches, those with underlying health conditions and flat-faced breeds can struggle the most in the heat.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Esme Wheeler told “While we’ve all been enjoying the beautiful sunshine, the hot weather can be really uncomfortable – and even dangerous – for our pets.

“Dogs can struggle to regulate their body temperature in this weather and can quickly overheat and even suffer from heatstroke; which can be fatal.

“We’d urge owners to take extra care with their pets during the hot weather and to remember that some dogs can feel the effects of the heat more than others, such as elderly dogs or those with underlying health conditions, brachycephalic breeds like French bulldogs and pugs, and breeds with extremely thick coats.

“Some of the biggest dangers to our dogs during a heatwave may seem like normal everyday tasks, such as going for a walk or going out in the car.

“We’d urge owners not to walk their dogs during the hot weather, as they can easily overheat and could also burn their paws on hot pavements and roads.

“We’d also remind owners never to leave their dogs alone in stationary cars, caravans or other vehicles, or in hot environments such as conservatories or outbuildings.

“We’d also urge people to avoid travelling long distances with their dogs in the car.”

Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, lethargy, appearing drowsy, lack of coordination, vomiting or collapsing.

Dogs suffering from heatstroke need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.

Owners should move their pets to a shaded and cool area, and pour cool but not cold waer over their body avoiding the head. They can also allow their dog to drink small amounts.

Once the dog is cool they should be taken to a nearby vets to be checked.

The RSPCA’s warning comes as exceptionally high temperatures are expected to peak next Monday.

There is around a 30 percent chance that the current heat record of 38.7C set in Cambridge in 2019 could be broken.

The Met Office’s amber warning for extreme heat says there could be a danger to life or potential serious illness, with adverse health effects not just limited to the most vulnerable.