Dog owners have been reminded to take extra care of their pets and to be on the lookout for symptoms of heatstroke this weekend, as temperatures are set to rise.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue issued the advice today (July 15), following an announcement from Met Éireann that a status yellow temperature warning is set to take effect on Sunday.

Pet owners have been reminded that they should never leave a dog unattended in the car, even if the car is parked in the shade or has windows open. Regardless of airflow, the temperature inside the vehicle can quickly rise which could cause fatal heatstroke.

Meanwhile, owners of dogs with thin or white coats should take particular caution. These dogs can get sunburn so owners should limit their exposure to direct sunlight and apply sunscreen to their ear tips and snout if necessary.

The Minister also said that regardless of whether dogs are indoors or outside, they should have direct access to plenty of fresh water as well as a shaded area to shelter from direct sunlight.

Heat stroke

Coming up to the weekend, dog owners should familiarise themselves with the signs of heatstroke, which is a serious condition that can become fatal.

Symptoms of heatstroke include heavy panting, drooling, lethargy, confusion, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness or seizures.

Pet parents have been warned that they should seek immediate veterinary attention and try to cool their dog down by moving it to a cooler location, if they suspect that their pet is suffering with the condition.

The minister said that dogs can be cooled down “by moving them to a cooler location, preferably indoors, wetting their body, ears and paws with cool (not very cold) water, and offering small volumes of cool or lukewarm (not cold) water to drink.”

Dog walking

Many people may forget that surfaces such as tarmac, pavements and sand can become extremely hot which may be painful on paws. The minister has asked people to consider exercising their dogs in the morning or evening, when the sun is less intense.

“On longer walks, bring water for your dog to drink, collapsible bowls can be useful,” the minister added.

Minister McConalogue also advised that breeds with thick or dark coats may benefit from regular clipping or grooming to help them regulate their body temperature during the hot spell.

“Dogs are wonderful pets, companions and are important part of the family for many people in Ireland.

“While warmer weather is welcomed across the country by many, it is important that dog owners take some simple steps to protect their faithful friends from heat stroke and discomfort.”