Dogs die in hot cars. It’s a warning we’re all familiar with, and yet one that bears reiterating every time the mercury rises.

Warm, sunny weather is welcomed by most of us, but it isn’t always good news for pets. Heat stress is a serious issue. A 2020 study by researchers at Nottingham Trent University and the Royal Veterinary College found that the main reason for canine heatstroke is dogs overexerting in the sun.

“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,” said Emily Hall, a researcher and veterinary surgeon in Nottingham Trent University’s school of animal, rural and environmental sciences. 

“Taking a dog for a walk or a run in hot weather can be just as deadly, so consider skipping walks during heatwaves or take dogs out early in the morning while it’s still cool.”

Owners need to be aware of the signs of a pet overheating, as well as how to keep their loved animals cool – and what to do should they become overheated.

So how do we keep our animals safe in a heatwave? After all, it’s hard enough just keeping ourselves and our children cool. Katrin Scholz, pet nutritionist for AniForte, has some suggestions:

How to keep pets safe and cool during a heatwave

1. Keep dogs cool in cars

There are laws that penalise those who leave their pets inside cars on hot days, so severe are the consequences sometimes. As animal rights campaigners PETA state: “On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes”. However, cars are not the only dangerous environments to be aware of. Pet owners should also be alive to the dangers of conservatories and greenhouses, says Scholz.

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