RSPCA Cymru is appealing to all owners to keep their dogs safe this summer.
It can become unbearably hot inside a car on a sunny day. When it’s just 22 degrees outside, a car can reach a staggering 47 degrees in an hour. Dogs can’t cool down in the same way humans can so leaving a window open or parking in the shade will not keep the car cool enough and it’s still very dangerous and dogs may still suffer.
Under the Animal Welfare Act owners have a duty of care towards their animals to protect their welfare needs and prevent suffering which includes not exposing them to extremes of temperature.
In 2015 the RSPCA received 492 calls to report incidents of dogs suffering from heat exposure in Wales. Although the animal welfare charity records these calls as heat exposure in dogs which can include dogs outside who are suffering from the heat, or dogs in conservatories or caravans, the majority of these incidents are dogs in hot cars.
RSPCA Cymru’s political campaign’s manager Martin Fidler Jones said: “It’s important to remember not to leave any animal in a car or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise, even when it doesn’t feel that warm outside.
“Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they are parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
“Anyone who has stayed sat in a car with the windows open a touch will know how uncomfortable it can become. Please don’t gamble with dogs’ lives and keep them safe.”
To raise awareness and highlight the real danger of leaving dogs in cars, even on a seemingly mild day, working with our partners, the RSPCA has made a shocking new short film (link below).
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.
Twelve organisations have this year teamed up to spread an important message among dog owners this summer. Rescue and rehoming charities, veterinary associations, police, and welfare organisations are all working together to ensure owners know the dangers the warm weather can pose to dogs over the summer months.
Dog’s Trust, The Kennel Club and #TeamOtisUK are the latest groups to join the campaign, which is in its second year, with the support of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association (BVA), The Mayhew Animal Home, National Animal Welfare Trust, The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), PDSA and Wood Green Animal Shelter.
If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
Video is available on RSPCA Cymru’s YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS8vHCDzens
In Wales in 2014 the RSPCA received 672 calls to report incidents of dogs suffering from heat exposure and in 2013 in 480.
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.
If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage. 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. Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area,douse him/her with cool water and call a vet immediately.
Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. 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 24hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.