Pictures shared of two dogs tied to a beach railing on the weekend had onlookers concerned as warm weather returned to Sydney.
The dogs were all alone on the concrete at Bronte beach as the sun beamed down, with no shade around to protect them.
A person shared the images online and stressed they were not passing judgement, but wanted to remind people this isn't how you should be treating your pets.
"It is not cool. Not fair on your dog... Not fair on the rest of the beachgoers," they said on Facebook.
Dr Bronwyn Orr, President of the Australian Veterinary Association, said the images should serve as a reminder of the dangers of leaving dogs out in the heat as we head into summer.
"Even while we go and celebrate the warmer weather at the beach, just like with children, you have to keep an eye on them [dogs] and make sure that they're not getting heat stress," she told Yahoo News Australia.
Dozens of dogs are brought into emergency vet clinics around the country every year, so heat stress is a very real risk that fortunately, can be managed by pet owners.
Rules dog owners should follow in warm weather
It's unclear how long the dogs were left tied up at the beach, or what the owners were doing. Regardless, Dr Orr has some general guidelines dog owners should follow.
If you're taking a dog to the beach, you need to ensure they always have access to shade and fresh water, she said.
Owners also need to be watching for signs of heat stress, which includes excessive panting, rapid breathing, drooling, lying down or collapsing, or red gums.
"If you're seeing those sort of signs, then we would generally recommend to seek help and obviously, you want to try and avoid that happening in the first place. So it's all about just managing it," Dr Orr said.
She added if you're struggling with the heat, your dog is most likely also struggling.
Some dogs will struggle more in the heat — like brachycephalic dogs, as they can't regulate their temperature well like other breeds due to their lack of snout.
Dr Orr suggests if you want to take your dog to the beach, you should ensure it is dog friendly, so you can take them onto the sand with you. Most beaches in Sydney are not dog-friendly.
"If you aren't able to do that, then I think the reality is it's probably best that they just stay home, it'll be a lot safer, and they won't be at risk of getting heatstroke," she added.
"As much as we like to include our dogs and everything we do, it's actually better that they just stay home they'll be much more comfortable that way."
Heat stress is upsetting for all involved
Dr Orr works at an emergency vet clinic a few nights a week and she has seen heat stress first-hand.
Not only is it distressing for dogs and their owners, but also for vets.
"Heat stress is one of those things where it can sometimes be quite frustrating because a lot of the time it's preventable," she said.
Sometimes it happens by complete accident, but people do need to be aware of the potentially fatal situation owners are putting their pets in.
"Every year dogs die from heat stress, so it's just something for people to be aware of," she said.
Fence causes concern for smaller dogs
Both the dogs in the pictures were bigger — however, the concerned beachgoer added they had witnessed smaller dogs slip through the gaps of the fence after being tied up and fall off the edge on two occasions.
"Luckily both dogs survived but could have been a different story if it wasn't for the quick surfer dude just dropping everything to rescue the dog," they said.
Fortunately, strangulation injuries are not overly common among pets, Dr Orr said, however, they can occur and can also be very stressful for all involved.
"It really goes back to the sort of basic principles that ideally, you shouldn't, you know, leave your dog sort of tied up and unattended for long periods of time," she said.
"They do require a bit more sort of supervision than an adult human who can make decisions on their own, and I guess there's just potential risks involved."
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