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RSPCA urges dog owners to keep their pets safe during the hot weather

Photo: RSPCA

The RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge in emergency calls about dogs shut inside hot cars as a second mini heatwave hits the region.

Last year, calls to the charity about dogs overheating reached nearly 8,000 and last month’s mini heatwave saw the RSPCA’s emergency hotline receive 241 calls in six days, 105 of which on just one day as temperatures soared.

Calls made to the RSPCA last year about animals in hot environments:

118
County Durham
153
North Yorkshire
41
Northumberland
93
Tyne & Wear

It’s so dangerous to leave your pet inside any hot environment whether it be a car, a conservatory or even a caravan. The temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) within minutes, even when the outside temperature is just 22°C (72°F) and this can be fatal for a dog.

“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."

– Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert
RSPCA Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign logo Credit: RSPCA

What to do if 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 immediately.
  • Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and pour small amounts of cool water over their body. Don’t use cold water as this could put your pet into shock. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Once the dog is cool take him the to nearest vet as a matter of urgency.
  • If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration. Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.

You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.