Heatwave pet warning as dogs die in cars in just 20 mins and even walkies can be fatal – most at risk breeds revealed

EXPERTS fear the scorching heatwave roasting the UK today could kill scores of pets.

Today's blistering heat could beat the previous hottest day on record, with temperatures expected to reach a sweltering 39C.

The warm weather presents a serious danger to pets – amid fears many could die from overheating.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "As temperatures soar this week we're urging people to take extra care of their pets.

"Animals can struggle in the heat and some of our pets can suffer heatstroke or heat exhaustion which can be fatal."

The animal charity said owners should pay extra attention to their pets today and over the weekend.

"Animals don't always realise when they're too hot so it's important that we keep a close eye on them," a spokesperson said.

"Ensure they have constant access to cool or shady areas and fresh water, avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day, and never, ever leave them alone in a hot car, caravan, conservatory or outbuilding."

Owners should act immediately if their pets show signs of overheating.

"If your pet displays any worrying signs such as excessive panting and drooling, lethargy or vomiting, or you're concerned they may be struggling in the heat please contact your vet as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.

Top tips to keep your pets safe in the heat

Plan your walk
Try and avoid taking your dog out in the midday sun – when the temperature is at its
hottest. An early morning or evening walk will be cooler and more pleasant for your dog but
flat-faced dogs may benefit more from gentle indoor exercise.

Always remember water
Ensure your dog or cat has easy access to plenty of clean drinking water especially in the summer.

Never leave a dog in the car or conservatory
Do not leave your dog alone in the car under any circumstances. Leaving them alone in a car when it is warm for even a few minutes can be fatal – even if the car is parked in the shade, or a window has been left open. Leaving your dog in the conservatory can also have
the same effects as leaving them in the car.

Keep them cool
Encourage your dog to stay in shaded areas, away from direct sunlight. Putting a damp towel for them to lie on or providing a shallow paddling pool in the shade can also help.

Introduce new games to keep them busy indoors
Freezing their food, making pet friendly ice-lollies, or using special food puzzles, can keep them busy. However, take care to ensure brachycephalic dogs don’t get too overexcited as this can cause them to overheat.

Protect their foot pads
Hot surfaces can burn your dog’s foot pads, particularly sand or tarmac. If these surfaces feel too hot for you, then it is too hot for your dog. If you must take your dog for a walk, try keeping to public grassy areas.

Look out for heatstroke
Heatstroke is when your dog can’t reduce their body temperature and it can be fatal.

The most at-risk breeds are trendy "flat-faced" dogs like pugs and French bulldogs.

Battersea Dog & Cats Home veterinary director Shaun Opperman said these breeds were "falling victim to irresponsible breeding because of their increasing popularity".

“Many brachycephalic (short-skulled) dogs have difficulty breathing due to a number of factors related to their shortened muzzle – their airways are overlong, narrowed and convoluted," he said

"The problems this causes are exacerbated in hot weather, even above 20C, so owners should be particularly vigilant in the summer months.”

Dog owners have been warned to avoid taking their pets on long walks during extreme heat to make sure they don't suffer from heatstroke – which can be fatal.

Battersea has also advised pet owners to avoid leaving their animals inside hot cars – as they could die in just minutes.

"Do not leave your dog alone in the car under any circumstances," the charity advised.

"Leaving them alone in a car when it is warm for even a few minutes can be fatal – even if the car is parked in the shade, or a window has been left open."

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