Whilst us humans can cope with hotter temperatures this time of year, it can be very dangerous for our dogs. Leaving dogs in hot cars should always be avoided. Even if you park in the shade and crack a window, it is dangerous to leave your dog in the car while you ‘pop to the shop’.
Please don’t take risks where a dog’s health is concerned. Leaving a dog in a hot car can prove fatal, as dogs aren’t able to cope with even slightly elevated temperatures.
The RSPCA, DogsTrust and other charities, as well as the police, are urging dog owners, and the wider public, to be vigilant. If you spot a dog in a car you think could be suffering from heatstroke, please dial 999 immediately.
What should you do if you discover a dog trapped in a car?
The police advise that breaking into a car could be seen as criminal damage. However, if the situation is obviously critical for the dog (see below for the signs a dog may have heatstroke), here are steps that the police, along with charities like the RSPCA are advising concerned people to take before they take steps to break the dog out from the car:
- Call 999 to alert the police, as soon as possible
- Document the situation using your camera phone
- Find and identify eyewitnesses
How can you tell if a dog has heatstroke?
- Excessive drooling
- Heavy panting
- Dog may appear drowsy, lethargic or uncoordinated
- Dog may have collapsed or be vomiting
How to care for a dog with heatstroke
If you discover a sick dog trapped in a hot car, you need to contact emergency services – dial 999 as soon as you can.
However, if you can give the dog first aid, here’s what to do:
- Move the dog into the shade or a cooler area
- Use wet towels or cool (not cold) water to help reduce the dog’s body temperature
- Give the dog small amounts of cool water to drink
- Continue the above treatment until the dog’s breathing is settled.
Then, the dog needs to see a vet as soon as possible. They’ll need to be checked over to make sure they’re out of serious danger.
Remember, dogs cannot sweat like us humans, but cool themselves down by panting. This becomes very difficult in airless environments, such as a hot car.
The outdoor temperature is a poor indication of the temperature inside a parked car. Within 1 hour the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C when it is only 22°C outside. And on a day that is 26°C, your car can heat up to a whopping 37°C in just ten minutes. In these conditions, it could only take less than 20 minutes for a trapped dog to suffer irreparable organ damage.
What else can I do?
Help spread the word by sharing this article, or by sharing the poster below that the RSPCA made to highlight the danger of leaving dogs in hot cars.