If you’re a dog owner, there’s bound to have been a time you’ve been tempted to leave your dog in the car while you nip out to get something. You may be in a hurry, or the shop may not accept dogs.
However tempting it may be, never leave your dog in the car during summer months. The result could be fatal.
Your car can become an oven very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22°C outside, your car can reach an unbearable 47°C within an hour - leaving the window open simply won't keep your car cool enough.
Nobody ever thinks it’s going to happen to them or their much loved pet, yet every year many people still gamble with their dog’s life. Every summer, dogs die in hot cars.
It’s not OK to leave a dog in a car on a warm day, even if the windows are left open or you’ve parked in the shade. Even if the dog doesn’t die, they’ll experience severe distress, discomfort and anxiety.
If you see a dog in a car on a hot day, please dial 999 – the police are able to respond quickly and are best equipped to help in this situation.
You may think calling the RSPCA or other animal welfare organisations is the right thing to do. But in an emergency where the dog’s life is at risk, they’re not always able to get there in time. They also have no powers to enter the vehicle to rescue the dog.
If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage. Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses. 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.
Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and douse him/her with cool water. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration. Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.