The RSPCA has hit out at owners who left their dogs in hot cars over the weekend, despite repeated warnings about the dangers.
The animal welfare charity was inundated with hundreds of complaints over the weekend from people who spotted animals suffering as the temperature rocketed to 90 degrees in some parts of the country.
Around 350 calls about animals trapped in hot cars came into the RSPCA’s National Control Centre over the weekend of 6-7 July. Unfortunately the heat wave also claimed a number of lives.
A seven-year old female Staffordshire bull terrier died after being left in a car outside a pub while the owners had Sunday lunch (7 July) in Bradford, West Yorkshire. A woman and two men have been interviewed.
In another incident, a two- year old Rottweiler cross was pulled dead out of a hot car outside her owner’s home in Bury, Greater Manchester. The RSPCA attended after a call from police just after 6pm on Sunday (7 July). A woman has been interviewed.
RSPCA North regional superintendent Martin Marsh said: “The death of those dogs was an avoidable tragedy. Leaving a dog in a hot car has the same kind of effect as putting it in a microwave. They are literally cooked alive, in what is a horrendous death.
“People just aren’t listening. Leaving a window open simply isn’t enough, and in-car temperatures rise quickly, even if it’s cloudy.
“What people need to realise is that the next animal to die in a hot car, conservatory or outbuilding could be their pet – that’s how serious this is.”
All too often, owners make the mistake of thinking it is sufficient to leave a bowl of water or a window open for their pet but this is not enough to protect them from heatstroke, which can have fatal consequences. Even a hot garden without shade can be disastrous for an animal.
As an example, the temperature inside a vehicle can soar to 47 degrees within 60 minutes when the outside temperature is just 22 degrees.
Other key points are:
- All dogs will suffer, but some dogs are more prone to heatstroke. For example, dogs that are old, young, short nosed, long haired, overweight or heavily muscled are more at risk, as well as dogs with certain diseases.
- Cloud cover can disappear quickly.
- Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same temperature as outside within just five minutes of the air conditioning being turned off.
Heat stroke can result in coma or death in extreme instances.
Owners who fear their dog may be suffering from heatstroke should act quickly. Pets should be moved to a cooler spot straight away before ringing your vet for advice immediately:
ü Douse your dog with cool (not cold) water. You could put your dog in a shower and run cool water over him/her, spray your dog with cool water and place him/her in the breeze of a fan. Never cool your dog so much that he/she begins to shiver.
ü Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water
ü Continue to douse your dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle and then take him/her straight to the nearest veterinary surgery
The most obvious sign of heat stroke in dogs is excessive panting and profuse salivation. Other signs include:
ü Overly red or purple gums
ü A rapid pulse
ü Lack of co-ordination, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, seizures, vomiting or diarrhoea