DOGS are being affected by heat stroke because their owners are not making adequate preparations before taking them to Bournemouth beach, it has been warned.

The chairman of the Bournemouth Beach Hut Association said that she had seen several dogs affected by heat stroke after their owners did not provide them with any shade.

Ann Gerrard, who has been a part of the group for nine years, said that she was seeing people taking their dogs to the beach without thinking about hot they might get.

“I have nothing against people with dogs using the beach but they need to make sure that they are considering their welfare when visiting,” she said.

“I think people forget that while we might be half-naked on the beach dogs will be covered in fur and they can get really hot.

“Everyday I see people bringing their dogs to the beach without even bringing an umbrella or a chair for them to use as shade.”

Animal charity Blue Cross has urged people to make sure they keep their dogs cool with heatstroke able to kill animals “within minutes”.

Ann has now started lending parasols to dog owners using the beach and keeps several in her hut for people to use.

“The majority of people are very responsible,” she added. “But there are too many people who don’t think about their dog’s health when coming to the beach.

“People love their dogs but sometimes just don’t remember that the hot weather can make them very ill, very quickly.

“We hear a lot about how damaging keeping dogs in hot cars can be but there doesn’t seem to be that same level of awareness about taking dogs out to the beach without any shade.”

RSPCA operational superintendent Lee Hopgood said that dogs needed to have “constant” access to a shaded area in hot weather.

“There is a very serious side to keeping pets cool over summer as animals can suffer from heatstroke which could be fatal,” he said.

“Pets may struggle to realise when they are too hot so make sure they have constant access to shade and don’t over exercise them in the heat.

“Remember if the pavement is too hot for your hand then it will be too hot for their paws.”

The charity has also urged people to avoid taking their dogs out during the midday sun.