NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE IN A CAR ON A WARM DAY. IF YOU SEE A DOG IN DISTRESS IN A HOT CAR, CALL 999
Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they are parked in the shade, but the truth is, it is STILL A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION FOR THE DOG.
A car can beome as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE A DOG IN A CAR ON A WARM DAY
Call the RSPCA in the first instance.
In an emergency, the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, they would need to wait for police assistance.
HELP A DOG IN A HOT CAR
- Establish the animal’s health/condition. IF THEY ARE DISPLAYING SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE DIALL 999 IMMEDIATLEY.
- If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away/unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.
- If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your cation’s in court.
- MAKE SURE YOU TELL THE POLICE WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO, WHY, AND TAKE IMAGES/FOOTAGE OF THE DOG AND THE NAMES AND NUMBERS OF WITNESSES TO THE INCIDENT.
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 (section 5(2)(a) Criminal damage Act 1971)
Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.
WARNING SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE:
- Is the dog panting heavily?
- Is the dog drooling excessively?
- Does the dog appear lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated?
- Is the dog collapsed or vomiting?
- Has the dog got a bright red tongue?
- Has the dog got thick, sticky saliva?
- Does the dog seem dizzy or drunk?
- Has the dog had Diarrhea?
EMERGENCY FIRST AID FOR DOGS SUFFERING FROM HEATSTROKE
For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
- Move him/her to a shaded/cool area
- Immediatley 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 in cool water until their breathing starts to settle but never so much that they start to shiver.
ONCE THE DOG IS COOLER, TAKE HIM/HER TO THE NEAREST VETS AS A MATTER OF URGENCY
IF THE DOG IS NOT YET DISPLAYING SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE:
- Establish how long the dog has been in the car? A pay and display ticket may help.
- make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.
- If you are at a superstore/venue/event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.
- If possible get someone to stay with the dog to monitor their condition. if they begin to display signs of distress/heatstroke, be prepared to call 999.
You can also call the RSPCA cruelty line for advice anytime on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog is in danger, dialing 999 should aways be the first step.
In the UK, if a dog suffers or dies as a result of being left in a hot car, their owner or caregiver can be prosecuted for neglect or cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Successful prosecution for neglect or cruelty can lead to jail time, fines and being banned from keeping animals in the future.