As the UK continues to be in the grip of a mini heatwave, professional dog walkers and groomers are being advised to take extreme caution when it comes to working with their canine clients.
Protectivity has received three separate claims in just the past month for dogs dying as a consequence of the high temperatures.
The animals were under the care and supervision of pet care professionals when their conditions deteriorated, ultimately resulting in their death.
In addition to the well-known warning about not leaving dogs in cars, walkers are being reminded of the dangers that dogs face when the temperature rise to these unprecedented levels.
While many dog walkers or groomers may be reluctant to stop working for fear of missing out on income, the safety and health of the dogs they are hired to look after must take priority.
There’s no defined cut-off point as to when it is too hot to exercise dogs or to expose them to the heat of a grooming salon. Different breeds will cope better with exercise in the sun or being exposed to a hot hairdryer on days like these, making it difficult to have set rules.
Therefore, it is advised to take care and use your best judgement when a dog is in your supervision.
Unlike humans a dog cannot sweat to maintain it’s core body temperature. Instead, through panting a dog can dispel excess heat; thus providing humans with a sure-fire way to monitor a dog’s health.
Early symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion include excess or erratic panting, vomiting or dehydration. If you suspect a dog in your care is suffering from the effects of the heat, it is advised to get the animal to a cool, shady place and offer it plenty of water.
Do not attempt to force-feed a dog water as it could be sucked into the dog’s lungs. Also, do not feed the dog ice as doing so can cool the animal’s core body temperature too quickly, causing a shock to the dog’s system.
If symptoms do not improve, it’s advised that you take the animal to the vets for professional treatment.
As well as the direct impact of the high temperatures we are facing at the moment, other factors need to be considered. If you do come to the decision that it is cool enough to walk a dog, consider the heat of the pavement on a dog’s paws.
Concrete, asphalt or tarmac that has endured the suns rays all day can heat up to blisteringly hot levels. Walking a dog on hot pavements can lead to blisters and serious burns to a dog’s pads.
The easiest way to decide whether the surface is too hot to walk a dog on is for the walkers to test it themselves. If it is too hot to stand on barefoot, it is too hot for the dog.
Every situation is different, and the circumstances are undoubtedly out of the ordinary. But the advice for dog walkers is to judge the situation as they see it and to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of the dogs in their care during the heatwave.