Hot Weather Warning – Don’t Leave Your Dogs in Vehicles
With this week’s welcome sunshine, the Kennel Club is warning people that they risk killing their dogs if they leave them unattended in a vehicle.
Dogs are extremely sensitive to the heat and should never be left in a vehicle alone, even on a fairly warm or cloudy day. Surprisingly, leaving a car window open or supplying water makes little difference and the dog will suffer, as a car can quickly heat up to around 50°C.
The following video demonstrates how easily dogs can suffer from brain damage, organ failure and death, if left in a hot car.
Here are some tips for dog owners when travelling with dogs during warm weather.
- Consider the weather and your journey in advance, especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your vehicle. Think about whether the journey is absolutely necessary for your dog.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of space and isn’t squashed or forced to sit in direct sunlight.
- Always make sure there is shade provided: even in an air conditioned vehicle a dog can become too hot if in full sun.
- Make sure plenty of stops are taken with lots of water available to drink.
- Take cold water in a thermos rather than a plastic bottle so it stays cold rather than being lukewarm. Ice cubes are helpful in a thermos for cooling too.
- Be aware of the signs of overheating in dogs, which include panting, disorientation, excessive thirst, dark gums, vomiting, diarrhoea and losing consciousness.
- Leave a dog unattended in a vehicle, even with the window open and water available. Take them out and leave them in a secure, cool place with access to shade and water or take them with you, there are plenty of places that are part of the Kennel Club’s Be Dog Friendly campaign and will allow dogs in. Search for these at dogfriendly.co.uk.
- Let your dog take part in unnecessary exertion in hot weather, or stand in exposed sunlight for extended lengths of time.
- Pass by a dog if you see one suffering in a car or other vehicle. Whether it be in a supermarket car park or at a dog show, make sure you let someone in authority know and if in doubt call the police on emergency number 999 or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
What to do if your dog overheats:
- Contact the vet immediately.
- Move the dog out of the heat.
- Offer the dog cool, rather than cold, water for small drinks if the dog is still conscious.
- If possible, fan the dog with cool air.
- Wrap in cool, damp towels or spray with cool, not cold, water. Pay particular attention to the head.
- Cool the dog’s tongue by dabbing with a cold, damp cloth.