DOGS TRUST Ireland has installed a swimming pool for rescue dogs at its centre in Dublin ahead of a heatwave that is expected to hit Ireland this weekend.
The charity currently homes 211 rescue dogs, and is urging dog owners to not take any risks where their dogs are concerned.
It is warning people that dogs cannot cool themselves down in the same was as humans, and so they rely on people to keep them sake in sunnier conditions.
Young puppies, older dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with flatter faces are particularly at risk of heatstroke.
Common signs of heatstroke to watch out for include uncoordinated movements or collapse, altered or loss of consciousness, loss of vision, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, coma or bleeding. If heatstroke is suspected, veterinary help should be sought immediately.
"If you think your dog may be suffering from heatstroke, please do not delay in contacting a local vet," said Niamh Curran Kelly, Veterinary and Welfare Manager at Dogs Trust Ireland.
"It is vital you do this as quickly as you can to give your dog the best chance of making a recovery. Move your dog to a cool, shaded area and dial the vet on speakerphone. Describe the symptoms your dog is experiencing and tell them that you think they may be suffering from heatstroke. While driving to the vet, drive with the windows down or air-conditioning on – this should help to reduce your dog’s core temperature.
"If you have to wait for transport to the vet, try to encourage your dog to drink small amounts of room-temperature water if they are alert, and gently pour small amounts of cool water on their body. The main goal of treating heatstroke is to lower your dog’s body temperature to normal as early as possible, but not so quickly that you cause them to go into shock."
Owners are being told to walk their dogs in the early morning or later in the evening, and to test tarmac by using a 'five-second test'; if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot for a dog's paw.
Dogs should also never be left alone in a car on a warm day, as just a few minutes in a hot car can be fatal to a dog with temperatures inside rising from 22 to 33 degrees in just 10 minutes.