A family dog had to be carried down a mountain on a stretcher after his owners took him on a hike on the hottest day of the year.
The golden retriever was suffering from suspected heat exhaustion, which could have proved fatal if the rescue volunteers hadn’t stepped in to help.
The dog was being walked in the Glen River area of the Mournes Mountains, in Northern Ireland, on Monday when temperatures soared in to the mid 20Cs, making it the hottest day of the year to date.
A team of 12 at Mourne Mountain Rescue received a call for assistance shortly before 5pm – and attended the scene to assess, treat and transport the dog to safety
Due to their location on the mountain, it took the team three hours to get the dog down and in his owner’s car before he could be taken to the vets.
A spokesperson for Mourne Mountain Rescue, said: “The dog was treated, packaged and evacuated by stretcher to team vehicle before transfer to Donard Park and owner’s vehicle for onward transfer to a local vets. Twelve members responded and stood down at 1943hrs.”
According to the RSPCA, more than a third of people wouldn’t know what action to take if their dog was showing signs of heatstroke.
The animal charity says it could be ‘a matter of life or death’ if pet owners do not take extreme caution and familiarise themselves with the signs of heatstroke in animals.
The urgent advice comes as the Met Office has issued an Amber Extreme Heat Warning and a Level 3 UK Health Security Agency Heat Health Alert is in place for parts of England and Wales.
The RSPCA’s animal welfare experts are urging pet owners to take every precaution possible to protect their pets, from skipping walks and keeping them indoors out of the heat, to making frozen treats to encourage them to keep hydrated.
The signs of heatstroke every dog owner NEEDS to know
● Excessive panting
● Unusual breathing noise
● Lethargy or change in behaviour
● Blue or grey tinge to gums or tongue
● Contact your vet immediately if you spot any of these signs in your dog
What to do if you 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
Esme Wheeler, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “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.
“That means limiting or skipping walks, only taking very essential car journeys, leaving water available at all times, and preparing damp, cold towels and mats, and frozen treats.
“We’re still getting reports of dogs being left in cars, and seeing a lot of dogs being taken to busy outdoor events like festivals, shows and fetes, and to the beach.
“Don’t be that person who is dragging their panting dog along the pavement or plodding around a garden show. We can’t stress this enough – please leave them at home in the cool where they’ll be safe.”
Esme added: “Knowing how to try and prevent heatstroke, and also how to spot the signs of heatstroke in pets could be a matter of life and death, so we’re urging anyone with a pet – whether it’s a dog or cat, a rabbit or guinea pig, and even chickens, horses and exotic animals – to put aside some time today to read up and make plans.”