According to a new study, dogs living in London are the most at double risk of heatstroke in the UK.
The Royal Veterinary College and Nottingham Trent University found dogs in the capital. They had double the chance of falling ill than in some other regions.
Heatstroke, also called heat-related illness, is potentially fatal.
“Awareness of these extra risks can help owners take steps to protect their dogs,” the report said.
A co-author of the paper, said the findings “emphasize the double-whammy risk of heatstroke that dogs face in built-up areas.”
The study suggested flats and terraced housing were associated with an increased risk of overheating. According to the report, a more significant percentage of cases in London were triggered by confinement in a burning building.
It found dogs confined to a burning building accounted for 8% of cases in London. Which was more than double that of the broader UK figure of 3%.
Researchers said this could be due to a higher proportion of flats than in rural locations. And because the ambient temperature in cities such as London can be about 5C warmer than in the countryside.
Researchers found that the average temperature at which dogs became ill from heatstroke was 16.9C (62.4F) lower than previously thought.
The researchers investigated risk factors for heatstroke by analyzing 2016 vet records of more than 900,000 UK dogs.
They found that during the single year of the study, 390 dogs needed vet care for heatstroke.
Early signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, red or darkened gums and tongue. Also, confusion and instability leading to collapse, diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizure leading to coma.
The report found older and heavier dogs were most at risk of developing severe heatstroke. They also found flat-faced breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs high-risk, at high risk of dying from heatstroke.
The report’s lead author, said: “As global temperatures continue to rise, a better understanding of the combined risk factors for heatstroke. It will support more targeted owner education to improve canine welfare.