With sunshine finally arriving in many parts of the UK, Dogs Trust Newbury is warning dog owners that too much exercise in warm weather can cause severe health problems for our canine companions.

An expert at Dogs Trust said that dogs don't know when enough is enough so it is down to the owner to decide how much exercise is appropriate, especially during high temperatures. 

"It would be hard to say exactly how many times is appropriate to walk a dog as temperatures rise," They said. 

"There are so many variables, like how much exercise they usually get, their levels of fitness, and their age. It really comes down to making sure that you are not over exercising your dog."

A recent study showed that nearly 75% of cases of heat-related illness in UK dogs were because of exertion, and over two thirds were just from walking only.

Brachycephalic, or “flat-faced”, breeds such as English Bulldogs, Pugs and French Bulldogs, are especially vulnerable in hot weather.

Recent research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University found that English Bulldogs are fourteen times more likely to suffer heat-related illness compared to Labrador Retrievers.

Over a third of owners of flat-faced dogs reported that heat regulation is a problem for their pet.

The expert continued "If your dog is used to two walks a day, what we would say is maybe walk them at cooler times but still stick to twice a day. 

"If your dog has say one walk a day certainly don't expand that to four walks a day. It's all about making their routine work.

"Everyone should consider walking them at cooler times in the day when it's hot outside. This also could look like changing up the kind of exercise you're doing with them."

They said that if an owner would usually take their dog for a big run across fields, in warmer weather they should maybe just take them for a lead walk. 

"It's less about how often and more about the type of exercise you are doing with your pet."

The symptoms of heatstroke can include panting heavily, drooling excessively, appearing lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated, vomiting, diarrhoea, and collapsing.

Dogs Trust also advises that dogs should never be left alone in cars as even just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal. As dogs can’t cool down the same way as humans, the heat can quickly become dangerous for them.  

If you see a dog in a car in distress, the charity advises that members of the public call 999 immediately.