A DOG expert has given pet owners key advice to keep their pets safe during the summer.
Dog behaviorist and nutritionist Anna Webb has collaborated with car manufacturer Škoda to raise awareness of dogs deaths caused by confinement in hot cars.
As temperatures begin to rise, pet owners must know how to keep their pets cool and how to spot some major warning signs that their pooch is overheating.
Next week, temperatures are set to rise, with double-digit highs expected in Phoenix, New York City, and Dallas.
While it means that people can start enjoying the sunshine and work on their tans, it could spell trouble for your pet.
According to the RSPCA Australia, it takes "just six minutes" for a dog to die in a hot car.
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In a press release from Škoda, Webb warned that cars act like greenhouses when temperatures are high by trapping the sun's heat.
Within just 10 minutes, temperatures in a car can sharply rise into triple-digit heat on hot summer days.
Webb said: “It can take under an hour for a dog to be pushed to the brink by extreme heat, and that time comes around so much faster when they are in a warm car.
"Pet owners need to be aware of the dangers so they can help protect their pups.”
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Owners should be aware that a dog’s body temperature is always two degrees hotter than ours and so is normally between 100F and 102F.
However, small dogs tend to run hotter as they have faster metabolisms than larger dogs.
Webb warned to never to leave your dog in a stationary car, even with the windows open, or in the shade, due to the greenhouse effect.
If your dog is panting excessively, drooling, and/or restless, it is likely to be overheating.
Another surprising warning sign that your dog is overheating is if it refuses to drink.
While this may seem counterintuitive, Anna said, "This is their instinct kicking in as they associate drinking with peeing, which means they would lose body fluids."
In order to help avoid this, the dog expert suggested making your pooch a cool meaty cocktail.
She said: "I recommend packing an isotonic hydration drink, especially for dogs, or some pre-packed broth, in your cool bag.
"Both contain electrolytes and minerals, along with a meaty flavor, which will get your dog drinking and hydrated quickly."
Her next tip was to make sure your dog is used to traveling in cars for long journeys as a stressed or anxious dog will have a higher temperature due to increased stress.
If your dog is in a carrier, it should have enough space to turn around.
Journeys in hot weather should be taken during the coolest parts of the day with regular comfort breaks in the shade, away from concrete paths and tarmac that can burn their paws.
The dog behaviorist also advised that you keep your car well maintained to avoid breaking down in the heat.
She suggested investing in a cooling vest or mat "to keep your dog’s underbelly nice and chilled."
By using treats, owners can train their pets to get used to the cooling devices.
The cooling devices get soaked in cold water before making contact with your pooch.
However, they will need to be re-dampened later.
It is also key that "before setting off, to check that your air-conditioning is reaching the back seat," Webb said.
She added: "If not, or if your dog travels in the boot, securely attach some portable fans to encourage air circulation and cooling."
The dog expert's final piece of advice was to bring a cool bag with you and a portable water bowl that your dog will drink from.
Webb said: "Take a cool bag with plenty of fresh bottled water and a flask of ice cubes.
"Simply melting an ice cube on your dog’s gums cools them very quickly, or just offering an ice cube to lick and crunch is fun on your comfort break.
"Keep a wet towel in your cool bag. If your dog overheats, wrap them in the cool towel and keep dampening it with cold water.
"Do this in the shade or in a cool room. Pouring water directly on your dog is ineffective as it simply runs off and evaporates."
Dogs regularly overheat even when it is not scorching hot outside due to their inability to sweat.
Dogs that are long-haired, overweight, or have short faces such as bulldogs and pugs are particularly at risk.
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If you see the signs of heatstroke and overheating in your dog, immediately call the vet as it is classified as an emergency.
However, if you spot another dog trapped in a car on a warm day, it is advised that you call the police.
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