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Hot dogs, hot cars

In summer, many of us are hoping for sunshine and steamy weather but spare a thought for your pets during the summer months.
Every year, dogs die because their owners or handlers leave them in parked cars. Leaving a dog in a parked car – even for a short period of time – can prove fatal. Within six to 10 minutes, the temperature inside a stationary car can rapidly increase to double that outside.  Dogs cannot sweat to cool down and the panting mechanism, by which dogs normally regulate their body temperature, simply cannot cope in such extreme conditions.
So NEVER leave a dog in a parked car on a warm day, even for just a few minutes. Leaving the window open a few inches, parking in the shade, or leaving the dog a bowl of water is NOT adequate. A dog left in a car can suffer heat stress, and ultimately fatal heat stroke, in less than 10 minutes.
If you come across a dog that has been left in a car on a warm day, call 999 for police assistance or, if the police cannot attend, call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
• The D for Dog online community is campaigning to increase awareness and has more information, plus posters and flyers to print out and display, at www.dfordog.co.uk/didyouknow_parked_cars.htm