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Aug 07

Not the weather for dogs

Posted by:AutoMoney

Dogs in hot car

It seems that every summer, news reaches us that more dogs have died, trapped in hot cars whilst their owners were away from their vehicle, even if just for 10 minutes!

As the UK is set to enjoy a long, fine weather spell, it is important for dog owners to understand the risk posed to dogs if they leave them in the car – and also what passers-by can and cannot do. 

Research by the Dogs Trust shows that even a few minutes trapped in a hot car can prove fatal for a dog, and that one in four of all dog owners will at some point leave their dog in a car unattended.

The research has also shown that almost half of the population (48%) thought that it was acceptable to leave a dog locked in a car, if preventative measures were in place. For example, if the car is parked under a tree in shade, the window left open, or a water bowl in the boot. But this is simply not the truth. In fact, opening the window in a stationary car actually has no additional effect on the temperature of a car on the inside.

Further stats from the research showed:

  • AA patrols attended over 1,000 cases of dogs locked in cars
  • 28% of drivers are more likely to leave their dog in the car, even for a few minutes, than leave their mobile phone in the car – only 10% of people would do this!
  • More than 1 in 10 adults know of a case in which harm has come to a dog due to it being locked in on a hot day.

Advice for dog owners

If you are travelling with your dog this summer, vets from Dogs Trust have released the following advice

  • If you know that you are going to have to leave your car, even for a few minutes, do not take your dog on the journey with you – leave him at home, where he will be safer. 
  • When driving around, try to keep your dog as cool as possible – avoid travelling during the hottest part of the day, open windows to allow the breeze to circulate through the car, and fit window blinds and sun shades.
  • Plan your journey to include regular stopping points – for both you and the dog! Make sure that you have plenty of water available.

Advice for concerned animal lovers

It can be very upsetting to see a dog locked in a car and, as a caring citizen, you CAN do something about it. If you notice a distressed dog trapped in a car, look around for a few minutes for the owner. If you have no joy locating the owner, call the Police on 101 or the RSPCA – they will be able to advise further.

If you are present at the rescuing of a distressed dog, you must seek out emergency veterinary help – the priority is to get the dog’s body temperature down, so try and provide as much shade for the animal as possible and provide some water for him to drink. If you have towels to hand, or there are towels in the car you have rescued the dog from, wet these with some cool water and place them on the body of the dog to cool his internal temperature. These will need to be refreshed regularly as the water warms up.

Once the police, RSPCA and/or vet have arrived, you will need to describe the situation and any steps you have taken to help the dog.

It’s important to remember that overcast days are also prone to be hot ones, especially in the summer, so just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean your pet will be safe. Common sense should prevail – if you’re hot, imagine how your dog feels wrapped in his furry coat!

We hope that dogs locked in hot cars will soon become a thing of the past. 

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