While hot weather is a cause for celebration for many, higher temperatures present significant health risks for domestic animals.

As demonstrated by the tragic story of a pug which died in a hot van on the day her owners were getting married, heatwaves can be deadly for pets unless certain precautions are taken.

Fortunately, experts from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association have outlined a series of measures available for those hoping to protect their animals from the worst effects of the weather.

Don’t keep them in the car

Perhaps the best known danger to dogs in hot weather, and yet it still happens, is that of being left in a locked car.

Heat can soar to dangerous temperatures in minutes in enclosed vehicles – potentially causing animals irreversible organ damage or death.

Monitor humidity

The humidity is also a factor, according to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr Barry Kellogg, from the group, explained: “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels-very quickly.”

Take pet’s temperature

Taking a dog’s temperature can also help, with experts saying this should not exceed 40C.

If it does, the animal should receive the following treatment:

  • Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area
  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over them
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes
  • Take them directly to a veterinarian
  • provide ample shade and water.

Limit exercise on hot days and don’t rely on fans

The Humane Society also advises pet owners to limit exercise on hot days – and points out fans are not as effective on animals as humans.

Cool body wraps and chilled baths

A cooling body wrap, vest or mat can help pets, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association says.

It also said a cool bath can be of benefit if your dog does not find them stressful – or even a paddling pool if a suitable one is available.