With the onset of summer weather, it's really important to be aware of the effects of heat on your hardworking assistance dogs at the hottest times of the day.

On hot days, it’s a good idea to walk your dog during the cooler parts of the day, in the early morning and late evening.

In the garden and around the home, cooling mats and jackets and just wet towels are useful. And frozen kongs and bones are a great way to help cool down.

Make sure your dog has access to clean water at all times, ideally a large bowl filled to the brim, and carry water and a bowl with you on walks.

Watch for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs when on a walk, stop, find a shady spot and give your dog water. And of course never leave your dog (or any pet) alone in a car, even with the windows open.

Toxic algae alert

Another summer hazard to be aware of is the highly toxic blue-green algae starting to affect non-flowing freshwater ponds and rivers. Exposure to this algae can be fatal for dogs, so if your dog starts to display symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or seizures, or unconsciousness after swimming, contact your vet urgently.