Dogs Trust are urging pet owners to be aware of the danger posed to animals by hotter temperatures ahead of a warm couple of days.
Noting the rise in dog ownership over the past year, the charity is reminding the public that dogs do not cool down the same way as people, and are more prone to heatstroke.
Dogs Trust says young puppies, older or overweight dogs and breeds with flatter faces also have a higher risk of suffering from heatstroke.
The common signs of heatstroke include uncoordinated movements or collapse, altered or loss or consciousness, loss of vision, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, coma or bleeding and if heatstroke is suspected, owners should seek veterinary attention immediately. The charity adds the sooner the dog is seen to, the better chance they have of making a full recovery.
Veterinary and welfare manager with Dogs Trust Ireland, Niamh Curran Kelly says if owners suspect their dog is suffering from heatstroke they should ring their vet on speakerphone, while moving the dog to a cool or shaded area.
"Advise your vet that your dog may be suffering from heatstroke and describe your dog's symptoms. If you can't get to your vet immediately and have to wait for transport, use a water spray to gently cool your dog's external skin temperature.
"You should also offer them small amounts of room-temperature water to help bring their temperature down further. While driving to the vet, drive with the windows down or air-conditioning on – this should help to further reduce your dog’s core temperature," she adds.
The charity also recommends walking dogs in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are lower, and bringing cool, fresh water for the dog.
If walking on tarmac, Dogs Trusts says owners should do the 'seven-second test', seeing if the surface is cool enough to press your hand against. "If it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for your dog's paws," the charity says.
Owners are also urged to never leave their pet alone in a car on a warm day, even if the car is parked in the shade and the windows are left down, as it does little to drop the temperature inside the car and just a few minutes could prove fatal for the animal.