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Dogs in Cars in the Hot Weather

Most of us dog owners, at one point or another, have probably left our beloved pooch in the car for a very short time. We trust that they’ll be fine as we’re only popping into the corner shop or a friend’s house quickly.  

  

Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, the risks of doing just that have been highlighted in many publicity campaigns. The reason is that dogs can die in a hot car within a surprisingly short amount of time! 

However sad this is to hear we feel it should be addressed again right now in the current heat spike we're experiencing. 

    

On a warm day of around 22 degrees or over, the temperature inside a car, even if it's in the shade, can rise to well over double this within just one hour and a dog is unable to sweat as much as we can to cool down, they can only pant and perspire a little through their paws.

Neither is enough to sufficiently cool them in extreme heat. 

 

Even with the windows open a little any dog can still suffer after only a few minutes of being unable to leave a hot car! 

 

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a hot day  

If you see a dog in a hot car that seems to be struggling and there is no owner around, then it is important to call the police on 999. The police have power of entry and will contact the RSPCA or SSPCA if animal welfare help is needed.  

  

How else can you help: 

 

  • Many dog owners and dog lovers have saved dogs lives by breaking car windows to get a sick animal out of a hot car. This may be your first instinct if the police are too far away; just be aware that this can be classified as criminal damage, and you may need to defend your actions in court.  

 

  • When on the phone with the police, find out how long they will be, and if you think the dog is in a critical condition and feel you may need to break into the car to free them, make sure to tell the police what you plan to do and why. Take pictures of the vehicle with the dog inside and take note of witness's names and numbers. "The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (Section 5(2)(a) of the of the Criminal Damage Act 1971)."  

 

  • Once the dog has been freed, check for signs of heatstroke. These signs are good knowledge to have; check out our earlier blog on dog first aid – it includes heatstroke! 

 

  • If you are inside a shop, you can ask them to make an announcement over the tannoy to alert the owner of the situation. They might not know! 

 

  • Team up with other members of the public; someone should stay with the dog if you need to leave to search for help.  

 

  • In emergencies, you can also call: 

SSPCA: 03000 999 999  

RSPCA: 0300 1234 999 

  

Caravans and glass-roofed conservatories are also capable of reaching temperatures that are high enough to cause distress and sickness; they can even be fatal!  

  

So, before you leave the house - even if it’s only going to be ten minutes in the car – do you really need to take your dog along for the ride or could you leave them at home in cool comfort? 

 

If you are leaving your pet in a caravan or even the conservatory at home during the hot weather, help them by giving them places to stay cool in the summer months.  

 

They will be much happier for it, and so will you.  

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