St Helens Council’s Dog Welfare and Enforcement team has issued warnings to local dog owners of the dangers of hot weather.
As temperatures soar, the following advice will help to keep dogs safe and comfortable:
· Never leave dogs in cars in warm weather. In direct sunlight, cars can quickly become unbearable for dogs, and leaving car windows open is not enough. A dog panting and salivating in a hot car loses fluid and becomes dehydrated – increasing the risk of heatstroke and death.
· Avoid exercising your dog at midday. Temperature often peaks between 11:00am-3:00pm, so it’s best to walk your dog early morning or late evening. Always take fresh drinking water with you for your dog, and keep to shaded routes where possible.
· Don’t let your dog burn. Hot pavements in midday heat can burn a dog’s paws. Sunburn is also a potential hazard for dogs in sunny weather, especially on ears and white fur. Apply high factor sun cream to dogs at least once a day before taking them outside. Ear-tip cancer in dogs is common and very similar to malignant melanoma in humans.*
· Know how heatstroke presents and how to combat it. Look out for the signs of heatstroke in dogs – fast panting and tiredness – and if either present, find shade for your dog to rest in and spray it gently with cool water.*
· Arrange care for your dog while you’re on holiday. Whether it’s with responsible friends, family or neighbours, or a reputable boarding kennel, arrange adequate care and supervision of your pet while you’re away – it is an offence not to do so. Remember to provide your vet’s details in case of emergencies. While in or out of the house, ensure there is plenty fresh water available for your dog.
· Check your dog for pests. Infestations of fleas, ticks and mites become more common in warmer weather. Excessive scratching is the first sign. Bathe your dog regularly, provide fresh bedding and vacuum your home to avoid pests. Contact your vet for treatment.
*If in doubt, contact your vet immediately.
Residents who observe a dog left in a parked car or believe a dog is suffering from the heat should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 immediately.
For advice on dog-related matters, contact the council’s Dog Welfare and Enforcement team on 01744 675823.