One of my first ever emergencies as a qualified vet was rescuing two poor chow chow dogs from a locked car on a swelteringly hot summer’s day in Cornwall.
One was tragically already dying and the other – his brother – just made it, but it’s shocking that so many people still consider leaving dogs in cars whatever the weather.
This country may be known as a nation of dog lovers, but it seems all too commonly we’re happy to put our four legged friends at risk, as a recent survey by Dogs Trust proves - revealing over 66% of us have witnessed dogs locked in cars on a sunny day - yet worryingly over a third of us did nothing about it.
Now that the weather’s hotting up, temperatures can easily soar over 40 degrees in some parked vehicles so dogs could die within minutes; so motorists are being targeted in a brand new awareness campaign from Dogs Trust and the AA called “Hot Cars Can Kill Dogs.”
Most of this should sound pretty obvious but if you’re not used to travelling with your pooch never leave him/her alone in the car - even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in shaded areas and/or keeping windows slightly open doesn’t make it any safer – remember shade often moves.
Always make sure your dog’s kept as cool as possible when driving; avoid travelling during the heat of the day and use sun blinds on windows, leaving them slightly ajar allowing a cooling breeze to circulate.
When travelling bring along a supply of clean, fresh, and preferably cold water; and know where you can stop off en route for water breaks. Invest in a non-spill water bowl from your local pet /online. Dogs aren’t able to cool down as effectively as humans so suffer heat stroke and dehydration very quickly.
And please never forget - whatever the weather – dogs left in cars are at risk of being stolen too.
Finally if you see a distressed dog in a car please call 999 immediately.
By Marc Abraham - visit www.GroveLodgeVets.co.uk