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Dogs still dying in hot cars as Britain heats up for the summer

RSPCA statistics show that hundreds of dogs are being left in hot cars
© RSPCA Cymru - Twitter

Despite years of warnings, Britain’s dog-owners are continuing to leave their dogs in cars during hot weather, putting them at risk of serious illness and death – according to new figures released by RSPCA Cymru.

By G. John Cole Published on 8 May 2019

In just 23 short minutes – the time it takes to queue up for a steak bake at a busy Greggs and then grab a scratchcard on the way back – the temperature in a locked car can soar from 23.3°C to more than 57°C. Owners just shouldn’t do it, and passers-by who see a dog in a hot car should call 999 immediately.

1,000 hot dogs

Nearly 1,000 calls were made to the RSPCA in Wales over the past two years by concerned dog-lovers who witnessed dog cruelty of this fashion.

“It’s a real concern that despite all of our campaigns, many dog owners are still ignoring our warnings and risking their pets’ lives by leaving them alone in cars on warm days,” says Shelley Phillips, RSPCA Cymru’s campaign manager, on Wrexham.com. “That split-second decision – usually made for convenience – could prove fatal for their dog.

“We’re urging the public in Wales to help us spread the message – keep your pets safe in the heat. It’s also vital people remember to not leave any animal in any vehicle or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise, even when it doesn’t feel that warm outside.

Silly sausage

In one experiment, a human RSPCA operative locked himself in a hot car to see how severe the temperature gain would be. It more than doubled in less than 25 minutes. It is not reported if the RSPCA man survived.

But for dogs, who can only cool down by panting, serious damage can be done much faster than this.

It may take less than 15 minutes for a dog to become brain-damaged or to die from heatstroke. As the weather warms up for the year, concerned witnesses should call RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice.

But ring 999 if the dog is obviously in danger or suffering symptoms of heatstroke such as restlessness, extreme thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, darkened tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or bloody diarrhoea. Fresh drinking water and cold (but not icy) hose-water, bathing, or wet towels, can help get a dog back towards safety quickly.