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HomeFarming News‘Dogs can get sunburn’ – warning to pet owners ahead of heatwave
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Dogs can get sunburn’ – warning to pet owners ahead of heatwave

Simple steps to protect dogs from heat stroke and discomfort from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  • Make sure your dog has a shaded area available to shelter from direct sunlight;
  • Dogs should always have access to plenty of fresh water both inside and outdoors. This is especially important during hot weather.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a car, even if the car is parked in the shade or with windows open. The temperature inside the car may rise rapidly, causing heat stroke, which can be fatal;
  • It is preferable to exercise dogs in the morning or evening, when the temperatures are cooler than in the middle of the day. On longer walks, bring water for your dog to drink (collapsible bowls can be useful).
  • Regular grooming/clipping of dogs, particularly those with long or thick hair, helps dogs regulate their body temperature during hot weather;
  • Surfaces that heat up in the sun, such as tarmac, pavements, and sand, may be painful for your dog’s paws. If the surface is too hot for you to touch, walk your dog on grass or in shaded areas instead;
  • As dogs can get sunburn, especially dogs with thin coats and/or white hair, limit their exposure to direct sunlight. Also, apply sunscreen to their ear tips and the bridge of their nose if necessary. Check with your vet, who can advise on suitable sunscreen for dogs;
  • Be aware of the signs of heat stroke. If dogs become too hot, this may lead to heat stroke, a serious condition which can be fatal.

Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting;
  • Drooling;
  • Lethargy;
  • Confusion;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Weakness;
  • Seizures.

If you suspect your dog has heat exhaustion or heat stroke, please seek immediate veterinary attention, and try to cool the dog down.

To do so:

  • Move it to a cooler location, preferably indoors;
  • Wet their body, ears, and paws with cool (not very cold) water;
  • Offer small volumes of cool or lukewarm (not cold) water to drink.

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