WE MAY BE ENJOYING OUR FIRST SUMMER WEATHER OF THE YEAR AFTER A LONG AND COLD WINTER, BUT SPARE A THOUGHT FOR OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS
Dogs die in hot cars. Please do not leave your dogs in cars – even for a few minutes – temperatures can rise quickly. This can make your dogs very distressed. Many people still believe that it is ok to leave their pets in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a huge risk and is a very dangerous situation for the animal.
A car can become as hot as an oven quicker than you think, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in the car, it can reach up to an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE IN DOGS:
- Heavy panting
- Excessive drooling/thirst
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Thick saliva
- Dark tongue
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Lack of coordination
If you see a dog in a car showing signs of heatstroke or distress, the RSPCA recomends calling 999 in an emergency as ONLY THE POLICE HAVE THE POWER TO FORCE ENTRY. The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 states that only a local authority inspector or constable has any power to enter a premises to assist an animal that is likely to be suffering. A member of the public who broke a window IS NOT PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW and could be subjected to an investigation for criminal damage. However under the 1971 Criminal Damage Act you have a lawful excuse to commit damage IF YOU BELIEVE THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY WOULD CONSENT IF THEY KNEW THE CIRCUMSTANCES. If you are at a shopping centre or supermarket, note down the colour, model and registration number and ask customer services to put out an announcement. Establish how long the dog has been in the car, by checking the ‘pay and display’ ticket that the driver may have in the window. Check the doors of the car as owners may leave the car unlocked in case the dog sets off the car alarm. If these measures do not work then the situation may become critical. If the police do not have time to get there for whatever reason, then you have to decide yourself whether or not to take action. If you decide it is necessary to take action then you must inform the police of your intentions. It may be a good idea to take pictures or videos of the dog and the state of the car whilst also taking names and numbers of surrounding witnesses.
Once the dog is removed, if it is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice:
For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
- Move the dog to a shaded/cool area
- Immediately douse the dog with cool (NOT COLD) water, to avoid shock. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place him/her in the breeze of a fan
- Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
- Continue to douse the dog with cool water until its breathing starts to settle but never so much that they begin to shiver
ONCE THE DOG IS COOL, BRING IT DOWN TO OUR EMERGENCY HOSPITAL AS A MATTER OF URGENCY – 0161 764 4618
Many people’s first thought is just cars however conservatories, caravans and motor-homes are NOT suitable for dogs to be left in.You should always ensure that your dogs have plenty of cool drinking water available. This is also essential for other animals including cats and rabbits.
When walking your dog, keep in mind that if it feels hot enough to fry an egg outside, it probably is. When the air temperature is 86 degrees, the ground can reach a scorching 135 degrees – more than hot enough to cook an egg in five minutes. It can “cook” our canine companions’ sensitive foot pads. You wouldn’t put your pet in a frying pan would you? Please do not make your animal walk on a boiling hot pavement. Always test the pavement with your hand before settting off for a walk (too hot to touch is too hot for paws) or plan your walk to be in th early morning or late evening, when it is cooler. Always carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots and never make dogs wear muzzles, which can restrict their breathing.
If you see a distressed dog in a hot car, call 999
For more information go to www.rspca.org.uk