WE were blessed with unusually hot bank holiday weather the last time round.

Unfortunately my enjoyment of the weekend was marred by the repeated sight of people (who elected to run in the midday sun), jogging and running with panting, obviously stressed dogs in tow who, if able to choose for themselves, would not be running in the heat of the day.

Apart from the fact that most dogs enjoy the opportunity to display "normal" doggy behaviours such as stopping to sniff, pee and socialise, they should be allowed to rest in a cool place with short bouts of sunbathing (with sunblock applied to pink areas likely to burn) if they choose — and be brought indoors if they're getting overheated.

Plenty of water should always be available and signs of heat stress such as excessive panting, foaming of the mouth, unsteady gait and ultimately collapse should be watched for.

If your dog becomes overheated, it should be taken to a cool place and covered with wet, cool towels (or the cooling products now available) and veterinary advice sought if doesn't show signs of rapid recovery or has more serious signs such as unsteadiness or collapse.

Dogs should be exercised early morning or late evening during hot weather so please do think twice before taking your dog out in the sun.

He would be better left in a cool room at home.

Of course it goes without saying that dogs — and babies — should never be left in the car during hot weather.

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