Warning: don’t leave your dog in a hot car
Calls to attend to dogs found in baking hot cars are a nightmare for the SPCA during the summer holiday season. Dogs are at greater risk of dying when left in a hot car than a baby!
When the outside temperature is 28°C, in just eight minutes the temperature in a closed car parked in the sun rockets to 45°... and even if the windows are all open, it will climb to 37°.
Dogs have no sweat glands - the only way they can try and cool down is by panting. Panting pulls air over the wet surface of their tongue and nasal passages and helps cool the blood in the veins running under those surfaces. But it also uses up oxygen and in an insufficiently ventilated car, oxygen depletion leads to internal organs shutting down and being damaged. This can cause death, sometimes days after being overheated!
Should you see a dog in obvious distress in a hot car, call your nearest SPCA with the position of the car and its colour, make and registration number, so they can take action.
SPCA George: 044 878 1990. Emergencies, only after hours: 082 378 7384. Leaving a dog in a closed car is a criminal offence and perpetrators can be prosecuted under the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962.
- Wendy Jones, SPCA volunteer
To cool down an over-heated dog, douse it with cool - not cold - water and give it cool water to drink. Cover it with a cool, wet towel until it stops panting.