With today’s welcome sunshine, and summer fast approaching, the Kennel Club is warning people that they risk cooking their dogs alive if they leave them unattended in a car.
Dogs are extremely sensitive to the heat and should never be left in a car alone, even on a fairly warm or cloudy day. Surprisingly, leaving a car window open or supplying water makes little difference and the dog will suffer, as a car can quickly heat up to around 50°C.
Each year the Kennel Club receives reports of dogs being left in cars, and many incidents where dogs die from heatstroke as a result. The Kennel Club is calling for urgent action to prevent irresponsible dog ownership this summer.
To promote the seriousness of the issue the Kennel Club has produced a three minute video called ‘Don’t Cook your Dog’, which is supported by Dogs Today magazine’s Don’t Cook Your Dog campaign. The video is available through Youtube and demonstrates how easily dogs can suffer from brain damage, organ failure and death, if left in a hot car.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said, “We might not be experiencing a scorching summer but today’s sunshine reminds us that even on fairly warm and cloudy days cars can heat up at an alarming speed that can be fatal to dogs. Every year dogs die traumatic deaths after being left in cars so we urge people to take care when out about with their dogs. Whether in the sun or the shade, cars heat up quickly and it can be unbearable even for us before the air-conditioning comes into effect, never mind for dogs.
“Dogs can only cool down by panting and sweating through their paws, so they will find the heat far worse than humans. Owners must realise that dogs cannot handle heat like we can and that it is never safe to leave the dog in the car alone, whether the windows are open or not.”
The Kennel Club has issued the following advice regarding travelling with your dog during warm weather.
- Consider the weather and your journey in advance, especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your car. Think about whether the journey is absolutely necessary for your dog.
- Plan your journey and check out the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs site and use the Dog Friendly app to find places that will allow dogs in with you
- Make sure your dog has plenty of space in the car and isn’t squashed or forced to sit in direct sunlight.
- Always make sure there is shade provided: even in an air conditioned car a dog can become too hot if in full sun.
- Make sure plenty of stops are taken with lots of water available to drink.
- Take cold water in a thermos rather than a plastic bottle so it stays cold rather than being lukewarm. Ice cubes are helpful in a thermos for cooling too.
- Leave a dog unattended in a car, even with the window open and water available. Take them out of the car and leave them in a secure, cool place with access to shade and water or take them with you, there are plenty of places that are part of the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs scheme and will allow dogs in.
- Let your dog take part in unnecessary exertion in hot weather, or stand in exposed sunlight for extended lengths of time.
- Pass by a dog if you see one suffering in a car. Whether it be in a supermarket car park or at a show, make sure you let someone in authority know and if in doubt call the police or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
To help avoid the need to leave dogs unattended in cars, the Kennel Club ‘Open for Dogs’ campaign encourages more businesses and services to welcome dogs. Thousands of dog-friendly attractions are listed on the website www.openfordogs.org.uk, making it the ideal way to plan for trips for the whole family including your dog over the forthcoming holiday season.