Dog owners issued urgent warning over common mistake to keep their pets safe in 33C heatwave | The Sun

PET owners in the UK have been warned that they need to keep their furry friends lathered up with suncream as temperatures continue to rise.

A study has found that nearly half of all dog owners are completely unaware that their pets are just as in need of protection from sunburn as humans are.

The study, commissioned by hotel booking platform Hoo, found that 55 per cent of dog owners had no idea that there were potential side effects of their dog getting burned.

Despite temperatures set to soar to 33C this week, 57 per cent of dog owners say that they never apply sunscreen when taking their dog outdoors.

This comes as the RSPCA warned that knowing the signs of heatstroke in a dog was "a matter of life or death".

With an Amber Extreme Heat Warning issued by the Met Office, dog welfare expert Esme Wheeler said that "the hot weather has gone from glorious to extreme, and we can't stress enough how vital it is that pet owners take the situation seriously."

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Limiting walks, knowing what signs to look out for, and being prepared with water, frozen treats, and cool towels can help your dog stay safe in the heat.

The signs of heatstoke every dog owner NEEDS to know

What to look for:

● Excessive panting
● Unusual breathing noise
● Lethargy or change in behaviour
● Stumbling
● Blue or grey tinge to gums or tongue
● Contact your vet immediately if you spot any of these signs in your

What to do if your dog is showing signs of heatstroke

● Stop them from exercising
● Move them into the shade or cool space immediately
● Offer water in small amounts
● Lay them in cool but not very cold water and/or pour it over them
● Place a soaked, cool towel over their side and replace if it becomes warm
● Speak to your vet straight away for advice on what to do next

Dr Anna Ewers Clark, veterinary research and standards lead at national pet charity Blue Cross, says that while fur offers good protection from the sun "there are areas where they won't have a lot of fur, and those are the key hotspots we worry about, like their ears and the tip of their nose."

"A lot of dogs’ bellies are sparsely furred. If you have a pet who has a light, very thin coat they are a lot more sensitive to sun damage.

However, while 40 per cent believe that any old human cream will do, this is not always the best idea.

Dr Clark pointed out that "human sunscreen has a number of additives in them and fragrances which can be an irritant to dogs’ skin, so using a pet-safe sunscreen is the best way forward.

"If you’re using SPF 30 on your dog, reapply every 30 to 45 minutes. It’s very difficult to over apply it so if in doubt, put on another layer."

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Duncan McKenna, founder of Hoo, which is giving away bottles of dog-safe suncream with every dog-friendly booking, said: "More than three million households became pet owners during the pandemic, and many studies have shown how our pooches have got us through a really tough time.

"It’s only right that we take them with us this summer as many will be taking their first real break in two long years.

"It would be terrible for pooches to then not enjoy their time away due to dreaded sunburn that can be avoided. It’s a great way for the family to upgrade their experiences – pups and all."

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