Alongside its annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign, the British Veterinary Association has teamed up with other organisations to warn owners about the dangers of exercising dogs in hot weather.
The animal welfare coalition that coined the iconic ‘dogs die in hot cars’ welfare warning says that exercising dogs on hot days could be equally fatal for the nation’s pets.
The warning comes as the UK heads towards summer season and temperatures begin to rise. The coalition group, which includes animal welfare and veterinary organisations, is extending its campaign to warn pet owners about the dangers that hot walks pose to dogs.
A survey by the British Veterinary Association after 2022’s record-breaking summer found that while around one in 10 (9%) vets in small animal practice had seen at least one dog affected by the heat after being left in a hot car, almost four times as many vets (38%) had seen at least one dog affected by the heat after being walked or exercised in hot weather.
In addition, the RSPCA reports the number of visits to its hot weather advice pages saw a 650% increase compared with the previous year.
The group warns that taking pets outdoors in hot spells could be a “silent killer”- highlighting that whilst the majority of dog owners would no longer never dream of leaving their beloved pet in a car on a hot day, many people still inadvertently put their dogs at serious risk by taking them out for a walk, or for a day out to the beach or park, during hot spells.
BVA junior vice president, Anna Judson, said: “Every year, vets see a large number of cases of dogs requiring treatment for heat-related conditions, many of which are a result of being walked or exercised during the hottest parts of the day. It’s important that owners don’t let their guard down even when official warnings aren’t in place.
“We would like to see it become the norm that dog owners always err on the side of caution when it comes to hot weather, and instead, walk their pets in the early morning or late dusk when temperatures are cooler.
“If every pet owner can arm themselves with the knowledge to detect the early signs of heatstroke, as well as get into the habit of appropriately leaving their dogs at home in a cool, well-ventilated space at the first sign of hot weather, we really believe many animals’ lives will be saved. Our message is simple – if in doubt, don’t go out.”