Not long is too long for dogs in cars

Harefield Gazette - - ANIMAL MATTERS -

OVER the past two weeks, as tem­per­a­tures have soared to the high 20s, the RSPCA has re­ceived 625 calls about an­i­mals and hot en­vi­ron­ments – the ma­jor­ity of which re­late to dogs left in hot cars.

That is al­most two calls ev­ery hour, de­spite the char­ity’s key ad­vice be­ing to call the po­lice on 999 in the event of an emer­gency.

De­spite years of cam­paign­ing, peo­ple con­tinue to risk their dogs’ lives by leav­ing them unat­tended in sta­tion­ary ve­hi­cles in the warm weather.

The fol­low­ing are rea­sons and ex­cuses given to RSPCA in­spec­tors by own­ers re­turn­ing to their ve­hi­cles with dogs left in­side: “My dog is white, he’ll be fine.” “They’re fine, they’re smil­ing?” (The dogs weren’t smil­ing, they were pant­ing ex­ces­sively.)

“I parked the car in the shade when I got here, I can’t help it if the shade moved.”

“We only went to buy a new kitchen.”

“The dog barks when I leave it alone in the house, it an­noys the neigh­bours.”

“We feel bad leav­ing him at home on his own all day.”

“I’m hav­ing an open day to sell my house, the dogs would have been in the way.” “It’s OK, I’m a vet.” “It’s not like my dog’s on its own in the car, my kid is with it.” (On this oc­ca­sion ‘the kid’ was a five­month-old baby strapped into a car seat.) “I left the win­dow open.” “We didn’t think we’d be long.” (The own­ers had been at a Sun­day ser­vice at church.)

“I’ve only been in the pub for half an hour, any­way it’s OK, I run a dog res­cue cen­tre.”

The RSPCA mes­sage is clear – ‘not long is too long’ – and we urge any­body with a dog not to take the risk and to leave their pet at home.

Tem­per­a­tures can rise quickly in cars, car­a­vans and even con­ser­va­to­ries.

When it’s 22°C out­side, within an hour the tem­per­a­ture can reach 47°C in­side a ve­hi­cle, ve­hi­cle which can re­sult in death.

On Mon­day June 25 – the hottest day of the year so far – the RSPCA emer­gency hot­line re­ceived 167 calls – that is around one call ev­ery eight min­utes.

RSPCA of­fi­cers and po­lice were called to York Hospi­tal car park to re­ports of two dogs shut in a car.

Po­lice re­moved the Labradors from the ve­hi­cle and an RSPCA of­fi­cer rushed them to a vet for treat­ment for heat ex­haus­tion.

The an­i­mal wel­fare char­ity is now car­ing for the dogs, who have made a full re­cov­ery, and has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

RSPCA cam­paign man­ager Holly Bar­ber, who runs the Dogs Die in Hot Cars cam­paign, said: “There is ab­so­lutely no rea­son or ex­cuse that war­rants risk­ing your pet’s life by leav­ing them in a car on their own in this heat.

“Peo­ple don’t be­lieve it will hap­pen to them or they tell them­selves they’ll only be a minute, but it sim­ply isn’t good enough.

“We’re plead­ing with peo­ple not to take the risk and to leave their pets at home where they will be safe and happy.”

A dog’s nor­mal body tem­per­a­ture is around 39°C (102°F). Although the up­per lethal body tem­per­a­ture of dogs is ap­prox­i­mately 42°C (108°F), brain dam­age may de­velop at body tem­per­a­tures of 41°C (106°F).

Dogs are covered in fur and do not sweat in the same way as hu­mans do. Un­like hu­mans, dogs pant to help keep them­selves cool. The ef­fec­tive­ness of pant­ing is re­duced at high tem­per­a­tures and hu­midi­ties. Cars heat up very rapidly in hot – or even warm – weather. Air-con­di­tion­ing can dis­guise the dan­ger that a dog will face once the en­gine is turned off.

In an emer­gency, it is best to dial 999 and re­port a dog in a hot car to po­lice. The RSPCA may not be able to at­tend quickly enough and, with no pow­ers of en­try, we would need po­lice as­sis­tance at such an in­ci­dent.

If the an­i­mal is dis­play­ing any sign of heat­stroke, such as pant­ing heav­ily, drool­ing ex­ces­sively, is lethar­gic or un­co­or­di­nated, or col­lapsed and vom­it­ing, call 999 im­me­di­ately.

For more in­for­ma­tion about what to do if you are wor­ried about a dog in a hot car or a dog dis­play­ing signs of heat­stroke, see the RSPCA web­site or call 0300 1234 999 for ad­vice.

If a dog is in dan­ger, dialling 999 should al­ways be the first step.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.