Pet owners have been warned to make sure their companions remain safe in the heat as temperatures soar in Northern Ireland.
Animal welfare charity the USPCA is urging all pet owners to make sure they are aware of their pets’ needs and said that even five minutes in a hot car with no access to water can have fatal consequences.
“We’re very lucky to have such wonderful weather but we’re asking the public to keep their responsibilities as pet owners front and centre during this time,” said Colleen Tinnelly, from the USPCA .
“It is really important for them to be aware of their pets’ needs, ensuring that they have adequate shade and access to clean and cool water. It’s also vital to recognise that different breeds may feel the effects of the heat more than others.
“During this time of the year, we also see a lot of people travelling and enjoying staycations with their pets, but we urge them to never put them at risk by leaving them in a parked car.
“During the warmer weather, the interior temperature of a car can reach unbearable levels in such a short space of time. This can unfortunately result in heat stroke and potentially even death, which we have sadly seen happen in the past. Please remember, even if a window is open, you are parked in the shade, or are only going to be away for five minutes – not long is too long,” added Colleen.
Anyone concerned for the wellbeing of an animal confined in a car on a warm day can contact the Animal Welfare Department at their local council, who can offer advice, help identify the owner, and ensure the animal is freed from danger.
The USPCA issued guidance for pet owners.
“Pets can become dehydrated more easily on warm or humid days, so make sure they have access to fresh, clean water,” said Colleen.
“Make sure you understand the symptoms of overheating in pets which includes; increased heart or respiratory rate, weakness, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, or an exhaustive, semi-unconscious state. If exposed to extreme heats, more severe symptoms include seizures, bloody diarrhoea, and vomiting.
“And never, ever leave a pet in a parked car,” she added.
“With very high temperatures, be mindful of tarmac heat as this may burn the pads of your pets’ paws – regularly cool them with water and keep walks to a minimum during peak times of the day.”