Vet Avril McGinn joined The Ray D'Arcy Show to share her tips on keeping your pets safe in hot weather, warning signs to look out for and what to do if one of them seems to be overheating.

Dogs often struggle with hot temperatures, she says, especially if they love to sunbathe.

"They can overheat if they're in your garden, in your house if they're in direct sunlight sunbathing and the big one that, I think, everyone hopefully is aware of is if they're in a parked car, then they're in massive danger of overheating."

It's partly down to the pet owner to know when to bring a sunbathing dog indoors, as they might not want to come in themselves, so Avril notes some warning signs.

She says she had one larger, dark-haired dog herself who was a "sun worshipper", who would start panting if she got too hot. "She'd come into the house and she might be a tiny bit drooling at that stage."

"The first thing you'll see is panting. If they're getting into the drooling stage with panting, then you're in trouble. I think at that stage you're ringing your vet for advice ... whereas if they're just panting you're bringing them into the shade.

"Maybe close the kitchen doors, let the kitchen cool down a bit. Maybe pull the blinds down. You could get a wet towel, put it on the ground and see if they want to lie on it, but generally if they're just panting from sun outside, if you bring them into the shade, for most dogs that's fine."

She adds that "flat-faced" dogs are more at risk, such as French bulldogs or pugs. "Those dogs mightn't even tolerate 18 degrees heat, they're really sensitive to it", she says. "They can't breathe as well as other long-nosed dogs."

For these breeds, she suggests bringing them inside if they start panting in the heat and call the vet for advice as a precaution.

As for cats, "they're desert animals" Avril says, so most cats are able to manage heat. "If you have a cat who has a particularly long coat, and maybe isn't used to the heat, then they're at risk of overheating."

She suggests keeping the curtains closed to keep the house cool, especially if you won't be at home during the day.

As for whether it's worth keeping pets inside, Avril says it definitely is worth considering. If they're going to be outside, ensure they have plenty of water and shade. "I find keeping the blinds down from the start of the day stops the heat getting into the kitchen in the first place", she says, or have a fan in the kitchen.

Avril says you can give pets ice cubes to lick to cool them down, especially if they don't want to drink.

Cars are a massive warning spot. As Avril says, leaving windows open a small bit isn't enough to prevent them overheating.

"If you're going with them in your car it's absolutely fine to be in the car with them because you've got air con, you've got the windows down, you've got ventilation coming in. But as soon as you park, even if you're in the shade, you want to be taking the dog with you out of the car."

She suggests cooling the car down before bringing your dog into it, too.

As for walks, try to time them away from middle of the day heat, Avril says. Get the walk in early or later in the evening when temperatures have cooled. Wooded areas with plenty of shade or the beach where they can cool down are good options, she says.

Can you give your dog ice cream to cool down? Avril doesn't recommend it. "A lot of dogs are dairy intolerant, and you're not going to know whether your dog is going to tolerate it or not until they have it."

Wet towels, especially if you have tiles in the kitchen, can be really effective in cooling them down, or a cool pad. "If your dog is panting, and not stopping panting from the heat or drool or their gums are red, you're ringing the vet", she says.

"While you're doing that you can put continuous cool water over them. Not ice cold water, ice cold water can cause the blood vessels to close up, we don't want that."

For the full interview, click here.