Leaving your dog in sweltering conditions can have severe consequences
With Britain basking in the hottest weather of the year, the RSPCA has revealed how it faces two calls an hour about dogs at risk from deadly heatstroke.
A car temperature can soar to 47C (117F) in minutes when an outside thermometer shows 22C (72F).
Stroud District Council is being applauded today by animal welfare campaigners for warning how it will be take a “hard line” on dogs left in cars after finding two trapped in blazing hot conditions.
One, a thick-coated German Spitz-type, was trapped inside a vehicle for more than an hour at a council car park.
The temperature inside the car was recorded at 32.5C.
Earlier, an Akita, another thick-coated breed, had been found panting heavily inside a car at a nearby multi-storey.
Council officials called the police to free the dogs in both cases, although their owners returned before the animals were rescued.
Stroud Council animal welfare officer Alex Myrie warned today that anyone leaving a dog in a hot car is very likely to be issued with an on-the-spot improvement notice under Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Details will be recorded with the threat of court prosecution if repeated, bringing the risk of a six-month prison sentence and £20,000 fine for causing unnecessary suffering.
AWO Myrie said: “People think it’s not going to happen to them, and when it does happen, they say they were longer than they thought, or they’d taken them for a walk before they went shopping – actually after a walk, a dog will usually be hotter, too.
“The Spitz was in a car where the temperature was 27.5C in the shade and 32.5C in the sun.
“The dog had a car harness on and although the owner had parked in the shade, the angle of the sun had changed and the car had heated up. The ticket in the car was for three hours of parking.”
The RSPCA says it received 7,199 calls about dogs suffering from heat exposure last year and is currently collating figures from the recent hot spell.
This week has seen the British Parking Association become the latest member of a police and animal welfare group clamping down on the menace.
Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death.
RSPCA chief vet James Yeates said: “A hot car can be a death trap for dogs, it is as simple as that.
“Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death.
“This is not a new warning, but sadly too many people still don’t appreciate how dangerous it can be to leave a dog in a hot car, conservatory or caravan.
“We would urge dog owners to consider whether it would be best for their pet to stay at home, or whether they are able to keep their dog with them while they are out and to make sure their pet has plenty of access to shade and fresh water throughout the day when they do.”
The RSPCA says do not be afraid to call 999 if a dog is left in a hot car and displaying signs of heatstroke.
Excessive panting is a key sign of heatstroke in dogs
The most obvious sign of heatstroke is excessive panting and profuse salivation.
Other signs are overly red or purple gums, a rapid pulse, lack of co-ordination, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, seizures, vomiting or diarrhoea and in extreme circumstances coma or death.
Owners who fear their dog may be suffering from heat stroke should act with great urgency.
Pets should be moved to a cooler spot straight away before ringing a vet for advice.
Today the RSPCA revealed it has received 241 calls this week classified as “heat exposure”, with 105 of them yesterday.
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