An RSPCA Cymru staff member locked himself in a hot car to experience the dangers dogs face when left in vehicles in warmer conditions.
RSPCA media relations officer Chris O’Brien spent just over 26 minutes locked in a stationary vehicle last Friday (29 June) – and the temperature sky-rocketed from 23.3°C to more than 57°C degrees.
The video – shot over a series of updates – shows the temperature inside the car increase to over 35°C after five minutes, 43.6°C at the ten-minute mark and 48.8°C after 15 minutes. The temperature climbs above 50°C at 17 minutes, and rises further to 53.1°C after 20 minutes, before breaking the 57°C degree barrier at approximately 25 minutes.
Across Wales temperatures have been soaring of late – and the RSPCA has received a number of calls about animals in hot environments. Between Monday 25 June and Sunday 1 July, 85 calls from Wales came into the charity’s emergency line; while – in total – there were 1,123 incidents reported.
However, the charity’s advice – where a dog is seen in distress in a hot car – is to call 999; due to powers of entry held by the Police.
The new video is designed to act as a “timely reminder” as to the potentially fatal dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car – something the RSPCA say is a “death trap” for dogs.
Chris O’Brien, from RSPCA Cymru, said: “This was an eye-opening experience as to what a death trap warm cars can be for dogs – and hopefully will help raise awareness about how dangerous such a situation can be for our canine friends.
“I was shocked as to just how quickly the temperature sky-rocketed. In less than half-an-hour, it was more than 57°C degrees – or approximately 135°F – and I cannot begin to imagine the distress that could cause a dog.
“We just hope this video helps raise awareness as to the dangers people are inadvertently placing dogs in, if they leave them in a car amid these warmer weather conditions. A short trip to the shops for an owner could prove fatal for a dog left alone in this way.”
Martyn Hubbard, RSPCA superintendent, added: “Our advice is always to phone the Police on 999 to report a dog in a hot car.
“However, last week, we still received 85 calls in one week from Wales alone about animals in hot environments – and more than 1,100 across the board; highlighting how commonplace this dangerous practice is.
“Our message is clear – ‘not long is too long’. This video is a timely reminder that temperatures inside a hot car rise so quickly. This can cause heatstroke and is a very dangerous situation that no dog should face. Sadly, it is a risk many dog owners still seem prepared to take.”
Dogs are covered in fur and don’t sweat in the same way as humans do. Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced at high temperatures and in humid conditions.
For additional information about what to do if an individual is worried about a dog in a hot car or a dog displaying signs of heatstroke, see the RSPCA website.