By Sarah Slater
An animal charity is urging pet owners to keep their pets safe during the current heatwave forecast to blanket the country in sizzling temperatures for the next week.
The ISPCA is warning that pets can become dehydrated and overheat quickly, so it is important for owners to be aware of the signs of overheating.
These include excessive panting, increased heart rate, dry or pale gums and weakness or if they collapse. To avoid overheating, it is vital not to overexert pets, make sure they always have access to fresh water and are out of the sun.
ISPCA Public Relations Manager Carmel Murray said: "Pet owners often think leaving a car window open a little is sufficient for their pet but this is not enough to prevent heatstroke under intense sunshine which can have fatal consequences.
“We all love the sunshine but it is important to be aware of the dangers that can be caused by leaving a pet such as a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather, even 10 minutes can prove to be fatal. Dogs in particular don’t have any sweat glands”.
“The summer sun can be fun for everyone, but please do plan in advance if bringing a pet anywhere. Please also be mindful of common chemicals that may be in your home this summer, as these can be toxic to pets if ingested.”
Ms Murray added that sun creams, insect repellant, weed killer are extremely dangerous to pets if they are ingested and need to be stored securely.
The ISPCA has received almost 70,000 calls to its animal cruelty hotline in the past four years.
Since the new animals law came into force in 2014, the charity has handled 69,211 calls, 14,338 investigations, 4,045 animals were seized or surrendered.
Over 1,250 animals were seized by or surrendered to the ISPCA last year.
The animal charity launched their annual report over the weekend.
It shows 758 dogs, 356 cats and 55 equines all went into the care of their rescue facilities in 2017.
Inspectors also coordinated the removal and rehoming of hundreds of cats and dogs from a research facility in Mayo that ceased operating in 2016.
Up to 111 prosecutions have been initiated and last year saw the first prison sentences imposed for offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
These included an 18-month sentence for cruelty offences and a two-month custodial sentence imposed on a man who failed to seek appropriate veterinary treatment for a dog with severe injuries to its jaw.
In 2017, at the National Animal Centre (NAC) work started last year on a new block of kennels, specifically to accommodate puppies, pregnant females, whelping mums and other vulnerable dogs.
Their equine rescue centre in Mallow, Cork found new homes for 37 equines.
Ms Murray added: “This is a remarkable achievement as it is becoming more and more challenging to and appropriate homes for equines in Ireland.