How to keep your dog cool during extreme temperatures

Some people are loving the heatwave and soaring temperatures this week – but spare a thought for our poor furry friends who struggle to cool down.

Forecasters expect temperatures this afternoon to surpass the 37.8°C recorded at Heathrow last Friday (July 31), which is the hottest day of the year so far and the UK’s third warmest ever . And This Morning ’s resident vet Dr Scott Miller reminded viewers pets may be feeling the excessive heat today, and explained how owners can help their animals.

He said warning signs dogs may be suffering from heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling and losing balance, and even collapsing or vomiting.

Dr Miller said: ‘If you see any of those symptoms you absolutely need to contact your vet immediately and let them know, because you may not see the symptoms of heatstroke initially and that they might cool down.

‘But I’ve had animals that have come in two or three days later that are suffering from organ failure, they’ve had anaemia because their bone marrow has been suppressed as a result of being overheated from three days previous.

‘So it is certainly something that pet owners across the UK, particularly over this weekend when it’s going to get very hot, need to be watching their furry friends very closely.’

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He was also asked about the dangers of leaving dogs inside hot cars by presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

‘Dogs can die as quickly as in 15 minutes [in a hot car], it can happen so fast, and even in the relatively temperate temperatures we have here in the UK, up to 25 degrees-ish, they can reach up to 40°C,’ Dr Miller added.

‘Those dogs can be under severe stress. Please don’t leave your dog in the car unattended.

‘If you are going on long car journeys, then do make sure that you stop very regularly, let your furry friends cool down, make sure you provide them with lots of water.’

Dogs pictured in hot weather
Letting your dog have a swim somewhere may help cool them down (Picture: Getty Images / REX)

What if you see a dog trapped in a hot car?

A question many often ask is what you should do if you spot a dog in a car, and whether you are legally allowed to smash a car window .

If a dog is showing signs of heatstroke and is trapped in a car, the RSPCA recommends calling 999 in an emergency, as only the police have the power to force entry. The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 states that only a local authority inspector or a police officer has the power to enter a premises to assist an animal that is likely to be suffering.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: One of the fringe benefits of taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is that animals can be an instant icebreaker, whether they’re with you or you’re just using them as a topic of conversation.

This diagram shows just how hot it gets inside a car when it's sunny
This diagram shows just how hot it gets inside a car when it’s sunny

A member of the public who breaks someone’s car window is not protected under the law and could be subjected to an investigation for criminal damage.

But under the 1971 Criminal Damage Act, someone has a lawful excuse to commit criminal damage if they believe the owner of the property would consent to it under the circumstances.

If you do smash a stranger’s window in order to save their pet, you must be prepared to defend your actions.

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