Dog owners warned of ‘silent killer’ as pets could be at risk in hot weather | Nature | New

The RSPCA warns owners not to even take their dogs for short walks in hot weather. The charity said that although many people know not to leave their pets in the car or take them for long walks in the heat, they could still put them at risk by taking short walks. walks.

The warning comes as the UK recorded the hottest day of the year so far on Wednesday.

And the weather is expected to get even warmer with the mercury expected to hit a sizzling 34C on Friday.

Esme Wheeler, RSPCA dog welfare specialist, said: “The truth is that walking dogs in hot weather can be a silent killer.

“While the majority would never leave our dogs in a car on a hot day, or even take our dogs for a very long walk in the heat, many people can still put their dogs at risk, even on a hot day. a short walk, or take them to places like fields and beaches with little or no shade.

“We have long campaigned for dogs to die in hot cars, but this year we are highlighting that dogs also die on hot walks.

“The message remains very simple: never leave a dog in a hot car because ‘not long’ is too long, and when it comes to walks, ‘if in doubt, don’t go out’.

Dr Dan O’Neill, associate professor of companion animal epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, echoed the RSPCA’s warning about dog walking in the heat.

He said: “Heat-related illnesses can lead to organ failure, brain damage and ultimately death.

“Most people know that dogs die in hot cars, but the reality is that more than 10 times more dogs need veterinary treatment for heat-related illnesses after exercise than for overheating in cars. cars.

“It can take weeks for a dog to acclimate to hot weather, so after a period of cold weather, periods of hot weather can be especially dangerous.”

Every summer the RSPCA receives hundreds of reports of dogs left in sweltering cars, over-exercised in the heat and with burnt paws from curbs.

The charity advises walking in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler, or even skipping a walk.

Older dogs, those with thick fur, flat-faced breeds, and those with existing health conditions may be at greater risk.

Owners should check that the pavement is not too hot by testing whether they can comfortably hold their hand on the ground for five seconds.

Other RSPCA tips for keeping dogs cool include a paddling pool, using a damp towel they can lie on and adding ice cubes to their water.

The charity is also urging people to be aware of signs of heat-related illness so they can seek veterinary care if needed, including excessive panting, unusual breathing sounds, lethargy, stumbling and a blue tint or gray gums or tongue.

The warning comes as a scorching 28.2C was recorded at Kew Gardens, south-west London, on Wednesday.

Forecasters expect an even higher 29C in the capital on Thursday.

The heatwave in parts of Britain is expected to reach a “crescendo” on Friday, with the mercury expected to hit 34C in south-east England.

Temperatures of between 27 and 30C are forecast across most of England and Wales.

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