Seven things you should NEVER do to your dog in a heatwave
The UK is set to experience its first heatwave of the year this weekend - with temperatures set to soar to 29C.
But while some will welcome the change of seasons with open arms, the intense heat be worrying for dog owners.
After all, sky-rocketing temperatures increases their risk of life-threatening heatstroke.
However, there are multiple ways pet owners can keep their beloved furry friends out of harm's way during the upcoming heatwave.
1) DON'T TAKE YOUR PET FOR A WALK
For most dogs, going on a walk is the highlight of their day - but the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals has warned that owners might need to avoid this over the weekend.
The charity's advice reads: 'When the sun is shining, many of us will head out for a leisurely stroll, but don’t be tempted to take your pup.
'Not only will the pavement be too hot for their sensitive paws, going for walks in hot weather can cause them to dangerously overheat.
'Dogs love to run around, which is why nearly three quarters of heatstroke cases develop while exercising.
'It can also be caused by simply sitting somewhere too warm, or being trapped somewhere hot, such as a car, conservatory or room without proper ventilation.
'Instead of heading out, set up a shady spot in the garden or the house, ideally with a cooling breeze and make sure your pooch has access to plenty of water.
'Though you might not take your cats for daily walks, encourage them to be inside in a cool area during the hottest part of the day.'
2) DON'T LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR - EVEN IF THE WINDOW IS OPEN
You might think that your dog is getting plenty of air with the window open - but leaving them in a car runs the risk of them developing heatstroke.
The PDSA said: 'Some people think that leaving a dog in a car on a hot day is okay as long as they open a window.
'But it is still very dangerous – even if the car is parked in the shade.
'Even when it's only 22 degrees outside, the temperature in a car can rise very quickly, let alone when we’re in a heatwave, when the temperature will be at dangerous levels within minutes.
'The truth is, you shouldn’t leave a dog, or any pet, in a car for any amount of time, even with the window open.'
3) DON'T USE LEMON JUICE TO TREAT HEATSTROKE
It's an old wife's tale that drinking lemon juice helps fend off heatstroke - but the charity urges owners to avoid it.
'Many animals can’t sweat like we do, and panting is one of the main ways dogs cool themselves down in hot weather – heatstroke causes excessive panting, and lots of saliva to be produced,' said the experts at PDSA.
'It has been rumoured that lemon juice can relieve this and help clear the excess saliva if poured or squirted into a dog’s mouth, but this is absolutely not true.
'You should never attempt to treat heatstroke with lemon juice, and this goes for any pet – the taste and acidity of the lemon juice is likely to make your pet panic, so they will pant more, causing them to get even hotter.
'If you suspect your pet has heatstroke, the most important thing to do is to wet them thoroughly with cool water, start first aid and contact your vet right away for emergency treatment.'
4) DON'T COOL DOGS DOWN WITH A WET TOWEL
Although it can be tempting to wrap your dog in a damp towel, the experts say this is one of the worst things you can do.
PDSA said: 'Dogs cool down through heat loss into the air around them, and by evaporation if you get them wet.
'This means that covering them with a wet towel can actually heat them up as it acts as an insulating layer.
'Instead, lay down a wet towel or cooling mat for your pooch to lie on, or fill a paddling pool with cold water so they can cool their paws.'
5) DON'T GIVE THEM ICE CREAM
John Smith, pet expert and founder of Yappy.com, explained: 'The warm weather might tempt you into giving your furry friend a nice cold treat, but one thing you must not give them is ice cream.
'Some ice creams include ingredients that are harmful to your pets and can cause them to become unwell.
'Unlike humans, it’s harder for our pets to digest ice cream, so keep your pets away from the sugary treats and opt for something like ice cubes to cool them down instead.'
'Posts go round on social media every summer claiming that the cold temperature of ice cubes can trigger a dog’s heat regulating systems to actually warm their body up, but this is untrue,' insisted PDSA.
'As long as your pooch is healthy, providing a few ice cubes to play with or in their water bowl is a great way to cool them down.
'If your furry friend is small, or has a tendency to wolf down their food, ice shavings may be more suitable.
'On the opposite end of the scale, fill a cereal bowl with water and freeze it; this will be too large to get hold of with their teeth, but they’ll be able to lick it, keeping them cool for longer.
'And if you’re still not sure ice cubes are the best option for your pup, you could freeze their water bowl before filling it with water, or cool their favourite toy instead.
'Hiding some enticing ingredients into water is a great method to encourage drinking more fluids.
'For cats, try adding some tuna juice into ice cubes and then add this into their water bowl. The aroma should lure them into drinking more water, even if they don’t necessarily feel thirsty.'
6) DON'T TAKE THEM WITH YOU WHEN GARDENING
'While the sun is shining it’s a great time to catch up on some gardening, but letting your dog help out could end in disaster,' warned John.
'The weather can get extremely hot, especially in the afternoon, so while it’s good to get some fresh air, your pet could be at risk of developing heatstroke if they stay outdoors for too long.
'There are also lots of nasty chemicals involved with gardening, from plant feeds to weed killers, which could be toxic to your pet.
'Some plants could even be harmful to your pet if ingested, so it’s best to set up a cool space for your animals inside the house or leave the gardening to another day.'
7) DON'T LEAVE THEM BY THE POOL
The expert added: 'When it’s hot outside, it seems like a great idea to leave your pooch by the pool.
'However, the pool side can become extremely hot for your pets, especially if the floor is tiled which can burn their paws, or cause them to overheat.
'There are also risks from the pool itself if your dog decides to take a dip without you. Not only can the chlorine cause their skin and eyes to become irritated, but they could also struggle to get themselves out of the water.'