Ice-cream van touring the UK – offering frozen treats especially for dogs

An ice-cream van serving frozen treats for dogs is touring the UK, helping the nation’s pets and their owners prepare for the rumoured heatwave later this month. The van is currently rolling through 10 towns and cities across the UK – including Bristol, Great Yarmouth, and Derby – to dish out dog-friendly frozen yoghurts free of charge.

Hosted by Pets at Home, the take on the traditional vehicle will have experts onboard to help owners understand the best ways to keep their beloved pups cool and relaxed when temperatures are high.

It comes after research found 63 percent of dog owners worry about their four-legged friend overheating – but 41 percent don’t know how to safely help them cope in the heat.

To try to keep them cool, 35 percent would let them swim in open water, and 21 percent would pour ice cold water over their head, feet, and toes – two approaches pet experts advise against.

An expert from Pets at Home, which commissioned the research of 2,000 dog owners, said: “We love our pets, and want to do the right thing by them.

“But it’s clear from this research that many owners aren’t sure on the best way to help keep their dogs cool during hot summer weather.

“Dogs don’t sweat like humans, and instead cool themselves down by panting – but on really hot days, they’re likely to need extra help to bring their temperature down and avoid overheating.

“The best way to do this is to make sure they have cooling mats, shaded areas, and that they’re regularly drinking cool water. It’s fine to cool this using ice.

“There’s lots of ways we can support owners in keeping their pets safe this summer, and we’re excited to meet many of them while onboard our ice-cream van – not only to give them and their dogs treats, but to share invaluable advice, too.”

The research also revealed many owners would struggle to spot if their dog was overheating, with 25 percent admitting they couldn’t identify the symptoms.

Only 38 percent correctly named “confusion” as a sign, with upset tummies (31 percent), and bright red or pale gums (19 percent), also highlighted as key heatstroke indicators.

Thankfully, owners do understand some of the steps you can take to keep dogs cool – with 70 percent keeping them out of hot conservatories or rooms, and 60 percent give them cooling mats to lie on.

During the summer months, 78 percent will only walk their four-legged friends in the early morning or evening, in order to miss the day’s hottest temperatures – yet only 65 percent will take routes that avoid hot pavements, to protect their pup’s paws.

On average, dog owners will stop going on their usual walks when the temperature hits 24°C, according to the study.

When it comes to car journeys with their pooch, 56 percent will only travel at cooler times in the day, and 55 percent take extra water breaks so their pet can rehydrate.

But despite the increased health dangers, 57 percent don’t take their pet to the park any less than they typically would if the weather is warmer, and only 19 percent apply pet-friendly suncream.

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