Hampshire dog owners have been warned not to treat heatstroke with lemon juice as temperatures continue to soar.

Every summer vets treat many cases of heatstroke in dogs, but with temperatures reaching record levels practices have seen a "worrying" increase in people believing that lemon juice can be used to treat dogs with heat stroke.

When dogs have heatstroke they can often pant excessively and produce lots of saliva, and some people are reading online that lemon juice will help clear this if they pour or squirt it into the dog's mouth.

In the Veterinary Voices UK Facebook group, one vet sadly reported a dog had died because an owner had been attempting to manage heatstroke at home with lemon juice.

Danny Chambers, council member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and Lib Dem candidate for Winchester and Chandler's Ford, said: “No dog died from missing a walk, but many dogs have died as a result of being exercised in hot weather. Dogs really struggle in the heat - they cannot sweat so they cool themselves down by panting. This is why dogs die quickly in hot cars - even if they're only left for a few minutes.

“Dogs often get heat stroke on hot walks. Ten times as many dogs present for veterinary care for heatstroke after being exercised in hot weather than present following being entrapped in a car. Flat-faced breeds such as pugs or French bulldogs are at an even bigger risk of heatstroke."

Signs of heatstroke in dogs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Seizures

To prevent heatstroke:

  • Do not leave animals in hot cars, even for a few minutes
  • Ensure they aren't locked in rooms with no ventilation
  • Provide access to plenty of cool, clean water
  • Do not exercise your dog in the heat - early in morning or late at night is best

If a dog is collapsed from heatstroke you should:

  • Bring your dog inside into a shady, well ventilated, cool room
  • Call your local vets and follow their instructions
  • Cool them down by pouring cool water on them
  • If they can hold their head up, offer them a small drink of cool water, don't allow they to lap up huge quantities at once in case they vomit
  • Travel to the vets in a cold, air-conditioned car

For more information on heatstroke in dogs, visit: rvc.ac.uk/small-animal-vet/teaching-and-research/fact-files/heatstroke-in-dogs-and-cats

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