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Shelter Life

James Clay chats to us about the IMPORTANCE of NOT leaving your dog in the car on a hot day... no matter what

It’s been a funny summer; glorious sunshine occasionally but as I write this the rain is hammering against my office window. Perhaps it’s because we don’t see the hot days that often that people forget, but DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS.

It is as staggering as it is saddening to hear stories every year of dogs dying after being left unattended in parked cars on hot days, and already this year we have seen several reports of police breaking car windows to release animals in distress. In fact they were called to 34 such incidents in June alone!

So why are dogs still being left? Perhaps it is because owners don’t fully understand the risks… On a reasonable sunny summer’s day, say 20 degrees, the temperature inside a stationary car can reach 45 degrees in minutes and even a car parked in shade could reach temperatures dangerous to dogs within 30 minutes.

A dog’s only means of regulating body temperature is panting; they do not sweat like we do and so a supply of cool, fresh air is essential to their wellbeing. The idea that leaving a window open slightly or providing a bowl of water will help your dog stay cool is an all too common mistake, even a car with open windows will not provide the cooling air your dog needs.

We have been asked in the past “how long can I leave them for, surely if I’m just popping in to the bank it will be okay?” The simple answer is no, as you can never tell what might happen to delay you getting back to your car and beloved pets.

So what should you do if you find a dog locked in a hot car? The news features stories of people breaking in to cars to release dogs. The law around forcing entry is a bit woolly but essentially it would be criminal damage for you to break a window, so always call the police instead. They have the power to force entry and release the animal and will do so without delay.

Of course dogs aren’t the only pets affected by the warm weather. If you want advice on how to help your furry friends cope with the heat there is plenty on our website, www.gawa.org.uk.