The RSPCA received 241 call in just six days, as the UK enjoys some of the hottest days of the year.
After just one week of warm weather the animal charity has already received 241 calls between April 14 and April 19. Last year the RSPCA received 7,199 calls about dogs suffering form heat exposure and across the summer months it equated to almost two calls every hour.
Rescue and rehoming charities, veterinary associations, the police, and welfare organizations have all teamed up and are all working together to ensure owners know the dangers the warm weather can pose to dogs.
Head of the RSPCA’s Companion Animal department Dr Samantha Gaines said: “It’s shocking to think that already we are receiving hundreds of calls relating to dogs suffering in the heat. This is completely preventable – please consider leaving your dog at home or taking your dog out with you – but never leave your dog in the car when the weather is warm.
“Many people think it will be fine just to leave their pets for a minute or two but we know that this is all it takes for temperatures inside a car to soar to dangerous levels.”
Although the animal welfare charity records these calls as heat exposure in dogs – which can include dogs outside who are suffering from heat, or dogs in conservatories or caravans – the majority of these incidents are dogs in hot cars.
The British Parking Association is the latest member to join the campaign, which also has the support of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA and PDSA.
RSPCA chief vet, James Yeates, said: “A hot car can be a death trap for dogs, it is as simple as that. Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death. This is not a new warning, but sadly too many people still don’t appreciate how dangerous it can be to leave a dog in a hot car, conservatory or caravan.”
Dogs do not sweat in the same way as humans do. Unlike their owners, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced in high temperatures and humidity. The temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) within minutes, even when the outside temperature is just 22°C (72°F).
Opening a window or leaving a bowl of water for your dog isn’t enough and still leaves dogs in serious danger of suffering from heatstroke, which can be fatal.
The most obvious sign of heatstroke in dogs is excessive panting and profuse salivation. Owners who fear their dog may be suffering from heat stroke should act with great urgency.
Under the Animal Welfare Act, it is illegal to cause an animal unnecessary suffering. Penalties for doing so are a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a six-month custodial sentence. A video warning of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car can be found here.
You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice, but if a dog is in danger, the public are urged to call 999 first.