Leaving your dog in the car on a hot day can be very dangerous. With temperatures soaring, conditions can become deadly in a matter of minutes.
Now that summer has arrived, we’re sure many of you are taking the opportunity to spend some time outside with your dog. At this time of year it is very important to remember to care for your dog and ensure it does not suffer with heat stroke.
All dogs are susceptible
Some dogs are more prone to heat stroke. For example, dogs with short snouts, fatter or heavily muscled dogs and long-haired breeds, as well as very old or very young dogs. It is important to remember that even fit, healthy and athletic dogs can suffer from heat related conditions.
Do not leave your dog in the car
Your dog will be unable to cool down in a hot and stuffy car. Leaving your window open or a sunshield on your windscreen will not be sufficient. If you are planning a trip where your dog has to remain in the car, the best solution would be to leave your dog at home.
Top tips for warm weather
Strategies to protect your friend during the warmer weather:
- Keep him/her inside during the hottest part of the day, and enable your dog to be able to move into a cooler, ventilated environment if he/she is feeling hot
- Dogs need exercise, so walk your dog early in the morning or later in the evening, and never allow excessive walking in hot weather
- Make sure your destination is dog-friendly before deciding whether to go out with your dog
- If you have to leave your dog outside, make sure there is a cool shady spot where he/she can escape from the sun at all times of the day
- Make sure your dog always has a good supply of drinking water, in a weighted bowl that can’t be knocked over
- Always carry water with you on hot days and give your dog frequent small amounts
- Never leave your dog in the car on a hot day, not even for a minute!
Dogs can get sunburn too, especially dogs with light-coloured noses or fur on their ears. If you are worried about this you should ask your vet for advice about sun screen.
There are several warning signs for a dog suffering with heat stroke, including heavy panting, appearing lethargic and drowsy, vomiting and diarrhoea.
If you spot that your dog suffering with suspected heat exhaustion, take action immediately. Move your dog to a shaded area and always contact your veterinary practice. Heat stroke can be fatal and it should always be treated as an emergency.
There are several methods of gradually cooling your dog down whilst waiting for veterinary assistance, including dousing them with cool water and offering water to drink in small amounts.
It is important to ensure you don’t cool your dog down too quickly, or let them get so cold that they start to shiver. For further information about the signs and treatment of heat stroke in dogs, read our helpful pet advice article.
If you see a dog in a hot car displaying any signs of heat stroke, dial 999 immediately. The dog could soon lose consciousness and experience internal organ failure.
There are no statistics on how many dogs die every year from heat exposure, because the majority of cases go unreported. But estimates are that several hundred pets suffer this slow, agonising and unnecessary fate every summer.
Let’s put a stop to leaving dogs in hot cars.