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Dog Owners Warned Taking Pets For A Walk During Heatwave Can Be Fatal

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Dog Owners Warned Taking Pets For A Walk During Heatwave Can Be Fatal

There's a heatwave coming this week and, though it takes its toll on us humans, heatwaves are also dangerous for dogs.

So, as we're all applying the Factor 50 this week and turning on our fans at night for a bit of relief from the excessive heat, let's not forget about our favourite furry friends.

Yep, dog owners are being warned that taking their pets for a walk during a heatwave could, in fact, be fatal.

So, its extra important you're looking out for your pooch and ensuring they're staying cool over the coming days.

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A new study by Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Veterinary College found that excessive exercise is responsible for three-quarters of heatstroke in dogs - meaning it's probably best to leave your pooch in the comfort of your hopefully cool home if its sweltering outside.

Walking your dog during the excessive heat could cause fatal heatstroke, say researchers (Credit: Pixabay)
Walking your dog during the excessive heat could cause fatal heatstroke, say researchers (Credit: Pixabay)

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that exertion or exercise - such as walking, playing or running with their owners - can lead to potentially-fatal heatstroke in dogs during the hot, summer months.

The study found that hot weather was responsible for 13 per cent of heatstroke cases, while travelling or being left in hot vehicles made up another five per cent of cases. However, exercising dogs during the excessive heat was responsible for 74 per cent of heatstroke cases for dogs. And what's more, a staggering 68 per cent of exercise-related heatstroke in dogs happened after just walking in the heat, so don't take your dog for a walk in the heat guys.

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Further causes of heatstroke included undergoing treatment at the vets or a dog grooming parlour, being kept in hot buildings or trapped under blankets.

It's important to keep your dog cool during the hot weather (Credit: Pixabay)
It's important to keep your dog cool during the hot weather (Credit: Pixabay)

The study found that 14.2 per cent of those affected died as a result of their heatstroke.

Breeds such as the Chow Chow, Greyhound, English Springer Spaniel and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were most at risk, while male and young dogs were more likely to develop heatstroke after exercising.

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Meanwhile, flat-faced dogs such as bulldogs and pugs were at increased risk of developing heatstroke just by sitting out in hot weather.

Flat-faced dogs such as pugs and bulldogs are at increased risk of heatstroke just by sitting out in the heat (Credit: Pixabay)
Flat-faced dogs such as pugs and bulldogs are at increased risk of heatstroke just by sitting out in the heat (Credit: Pixabay)

Emily Hall, a researcher and veterinary surgeon at Nottingham Trent University said: "It appears that people are hearing the message about the dangers of hot vehicles, but campaigns to raise public awareness about heat-related illness in dogs need to highlight that dogs don't just die in hot cars.

"Taking a dog for a walk or a run in hot weather can be just as deadly so consider skipping walks altogether during heatwaves, or be sure to take dogs out early in the morning whilst it's still cool."

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And Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, added: "Older dogs and flat-faced breeds, who may find it harder to regulate their temperature, are particularly susceptible to heatstroke in warm weather so it is really important to make sure that you exercise your dog at their own pace and avoid exercising in the heat of the day.

"Be aware that dogs can overheat from exertion even on cooler days, so do monitor your dog when exercising and seek immediate veterinary advice if you are concerned."

This is so important for all dog owners to note.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Topics: Pets, Animals, Dogs

Aneira Davies
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