As temperatures rise, dog owners are warned to take extra care to ensure their dog's comfort in hot weather - and never leave them inside parked cars, as the temperature inside can rise to the point of causing a fatal heat stroke even if the windows are left ajar.
RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes made a point last month by leaving a thermometer in his van in 15C heat for one hour. Within that time, the temperature had reached 43.5C. With warmer weather, it takes even less - and no summer goes by without dogs dying in hot cars. Thankfully, some are saved by members of the public who notice their distress.
“In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident," Inspector Joynes says. “If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately."
The RSPCA also warns that breaking into the car to free the dog could be classed as criminal damage without proper justification. If the police can't attend and the situation is becoming critical, they advice to "make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses".
"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," the RSPCA explains. "Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and douse him/her with cool water. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water."
Dog owners are also advised to take their dog out for walks when temperatures are cooler - such as in the morning and evening - and be mindful of the pavement's temperature before walking on it with their dog. Clean drinking water should always be available.
Image by RSPCA.