1. ITV Report

Warning against leaving dogs in cars as the temperatures soar

The RSPCA has warned against leaving dogs unattended in cars when the temperatures soar. Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA has warned against pet owners leaving their dogs in cars as the temperatures increase this weekend.

Last year, calls to the charity about dogs overheating reached nearly 8,000. Almost 200 calls about animals in hot environments came from the West Midlands.

The charity has warned that the temperature in a car can rise quickly and this can be dangerous, potentially fatal to a dog. RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said:

It’s so dangerous to leave your pet inside any hot environment whether it be a car, a conservatory or even a caravan.

Opening a window, parking in the shade or leaving a bowl of water for your dog isn’t enough and still leaves dogs in serious danger of suffering from heatstroke. And popping into the shop for five minutes is long enough for your dog to be affected. We would simply ask dog owners never to leave their pet unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle and, if the weather is warm, to leave them at home where they can access cool, shady parts of the house and lots of water.

– Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert

What to do when you see a dog in a car on a hot day:

  • in an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police
  • 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
  • please be aware that, without proper justification, breaking into a car to rescue the dog could be classed as criminal damage. Ensure that 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.
  • once the dog is removed from the car, move it to a cool area and pour small amounts of cool water on its body
  • do not use cold water, as this could put the pet in a shock
  • allow it to drink small amounts of water
  • take it to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency

The RSPCA also operates a 24 hour helpline for advice, but warns that calling 999 should always be the first step.