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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 25 May, 2020
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'A few minutes can be fatal': Dog owners warned not to leave pets in parked cars on warm days

Temperatures of up to 20 degrees are forecast for the next week.

Image: Fran Veale

DOG OWNERS HAVE been warned of the dangers of leaving dogs in car on summer days, as Ireland looks set to enjoy some warm temperatures in the week ahead.

Dogs Trust has said dogs should never be left alone in cars.

“We would always advise that you should never leave your dog alone in a car,” said the charity’s campaigns manager Sarah Lynch.

“Just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal for a dog. Many dog owners believe it is okay to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken, such as parking under a tree or leaving a window open. Unfortunately, this is a myth – in reality, partially lowering the window has no significant effect on the temperature inside a parked car.”

On a 22 degree Celsius day, the temperature inside a car could rise by 11 degrees in just 10 minutes and Dogs Trust said dogs can not cool down the same way as humans so the heat can quickly become dangerous.

“It’s also important to note that dogs can suffer from sunburn just like us so try to avoid your dog getting too much sun exposure,” said Lynch.

Those facing a higher risk are dogs with white or light-coloured hair, those with short or no hair at all and dogs that have lost hair through allergies or medical treatment. Always seek the advice of a registered veterinary practitioner before using sunscreen on your dog, even if it is labelled as pet-safe of dog-friendly.

The charity also said dog owners should avoid walks at the hottest time of the day, make sure their pets have plenty of water at home and on walks, ensure they have a shaded area to cool off in and avoid long car journeys in hot weather with their pets.

Dogs Trust veterinary surgeon Desré Daly advised owners to seek urgent veterinary advice if they dog displays signs of heatstroke such as; excessive panting; red gums and tongue; heavy salivation; vomiting or diarrhoea; lack of coordination; or loss of consciousness.

“Use a cool wet towel or cool water spray to gently reduce the dog’s external skin temperature, but make sure to remove the towels as they start to dry.

“If your dog is conscious, encourage him to drink small amounts of cool water, to help bring his temperature down further. If you are driving to the vet, make an active attempt to cool the car on the way by driving with the windows fully down or air-conditioning on.”

The charity said anyone who sees a dog in a car who may be suffering from heatstroke should first look for the owner and then contact gardaí and wait with the dog until they arrive. 

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