With summer on the way and the weather warming up, it's important to keep an eye on our canine friends, particularly when they're in the car.
On a hot day the temperature inside your car can reach 39°C in ten minutes. It's important not to leave dogs in the car as they will overheat and can suffer from heatstroke, which can lead to brain damage or death.
Dogs overheat much quicker than people because they do not sweat like humans. Instead they pant to dissipate heat and cool their body temperature. When the air in their environment is thick and hot, they cannot cool themselves down.
Even when a car is parked in the shade, the temperature can reach a deadly 49°C in just half an hour.
The SPCA has a list of heatstroke symptoms to look out for in these warmer months. These include: heavy panting, lack of co-ordination, profuse salivation, extremely red gums and tongue and loss of consciousness. In these situations, the dog needs to be removed from the car and treated.
If you see a dog in a locked car and in distress, call the Police or your local SPCA.
If a dog has heat exhaustion, give first aid, by cooling with water or other liquids that are at room temperature.
Wet the skin thoroughly, not just the coat, by spraying or sponging the dog until their body temperature lowers. When the dog is cooling down and responding, gently dry the body. If the dog is conscious, give them small amounts of water. Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
In the heat of summer, avoid strenuous activity with your dog. Take them for walks earlier in the day, or in the evening. Be careful with the ground they walk on, as hot sand and asphalt can burn their pads easily.
Letting your dog have a paddle in a pool or on a cool blanket can help them cool down.
Dogs can experience sunburn, especially if they are fair skinned or have light hair. Sunscreen can be put on the tips of their ears, their nose and stomach.
For days out at the beach, make sure there is plenty of shade for your dog to rest, and a place to cool down.