Colleen Tinnelly, Development Manager at the animal welfare charity, said: “Whilst many of us are enjoying this wonderful spell of weather, it is very different for our pets who struggle to regulate their body temperature when exposed to extreme weather conditions.
"Not taking the right action during the warmer weather can have heart-breaking, fatal consequences – your pet’s needs should always be an absolute priority.
“It’s crucial that your pet has access to a shaded rest area and has a constant supply of clean and cool water – your pet’s water dish should be refilled regularly with cooler water or ice cubes during the day.
"You can also freeze some treats for your pet to enjoy – such as carrot or apple bites, chopped watermelon and banana, or peanut butter which can be placed inside toys and provides great enrichment for them."
Ms. Tinnelly said it can be tempting to take dogs out on family days when the weather is fine but this can be very dangerous for them.
"Typically, we would recommend not walking your dog during peak times in warmer weather however in this current heatwave, the heat is unrelenting even in early morning / late evening times – as many would say, your dog will not die from missing a few walks but can die from overheating so please do not take that risk.
“One of the most important pieces of advice we can give members of the public is to NEVER leave them in a car. The interior temperatures of a car can increase dramatically and leaving your pet in this environment puts them at extreme risk – unfortunately we have seen cases in the past where animals have suffered severe heat stroke and sadly died as a result.
"We urge pet owners to remember that not long will always be too long – it does not matter whether the window is open, your parked in a shaded area, or you are only doing a five-minute errand.
"No animal should have to endure this type of suffering, it is completely unforgivable,” said Ms. Tinnelly.
If you are concerned for the wellbeing of an animal confined in a car on a warm day, please contact the Animal Welfare Department at your local council who can offer advice, help identify the owner, and ensure the animal is freed from danger.
For overall pet safety during the summer months, keep these tips in mind: - Pets can become dehydrated more easily on warm or humid days, so make sure they have access to
fresh, clean water
- Consider making your pet tasty frozen treats to help cool them down
- Make sure you understand the symptoms of overheating in pets which includes increased heart or respiratory rate, weakness, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, or an exhaustive, semi-unconscious state. If exposed to extreme heats, more severe symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhoea, and vomiting.
- Never leave a pet in a parked car
- With very high temperatures, be mindful of tarmac heat as this may burn the pads of your pets’ paws – regularly cool them with water and keep walks to a minimum during peak times of the day
For further advice on this please contact the USPCA on 028 3025 1000.