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Dogs Trust warns against heatstroke risk for Harrow’s dogs as temperatures rise

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has issued a heatstroke warning for dog owners in Harrow as the area experiences early summer temperatures this weekend, expected to reach 24 degrees.

While it is commonly known that extreme heat can be harmful to dogs, many are not aware that even mild temperatures in the early summer can pose a significant risk.

Recent research indicates that nearly 75% of heat-related illnesses in UK dogs were caused by exertion, with over two-thirds resulting from just walking. The study highlights the need for cautious exercise routines for dogs during warm weather.

Particularly at risk are brachycephalic, or flat-faced breeds, such as English Bulldogs, Pugs, and French Bulldogs. According to a study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, English Bulldogs are fourteen times more likely to develop heat-related illnesses compared to Labrador Retrievers.

Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, collapse. Dogs Trust advises dog owners to act immediately if they notice signs of heatstroke.

Preventative measures recommended by Dogs Trust include stopping any exercise and moving the dog to a shaded area to begin cooling them down. For young, healthy dogs, immersion in cold water is suggested, while older or health-compromised dogs should be sprayed with room-temperature water and kept in moving air. The charity warns against covering the dog with a wet towel as this could increase their body temperature.

Immediate veterinary attention is crucial if a dog’s condition does not improve or if the dog has collapsed. Dogs Trust stresses that dogs should never be left alone in cars, as the temperatures inside can quickly become lethal.

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director of Dogs Trust, says: “After weeks of rain, it’s great to see the sun shining, and many of us will be taking advantage of it to enjoy the great outdoors. And with over a third of households now shared with a dog, we have no doubt that people will be keen to take their dogs along to join in the fun.

“But, while most of us know not to walk or exercise dogs in extreme weathers, even these lovely early summer temperatures can cause problems, especially for those dogs with flat-faces or underlying health conditions.

“As owners, we need to know the signs that our dogs are getting too hot and help them take a rest and cool down when they need to. Some dogs aren’t good at self-regulating and may continue to run and play even though they’re hot and tired, which increases their risk of heatstroke.

“If you do spot the signs of heatstroke in your dog, take steps to cool them down and contact your vet immediately.”

Residents of Harrow are advised to remain vigilant while walking their dogs in local areas such as Harrow Recreation Ground, Ruislip Lido, and Old Redding.

In case a dog is spotted in distress inside a car, the charity urges people to call 999 immediately.