Reports of dogs left in hot cars hits three-year high says RSPCA

Reports of dogs being left in hot cars has hit a three-year high, despite a major campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of doing so.

This year’s Dog Die in Hot Cars campaign is to launch on May 6, on Dogs Die In Hot Cars Awareness Day.

However, despite a major annual campaign each summer, last year saw a three-year high for the number of reports of animals suffering heat exhaustion.

The RSPCA’s emergency line in England & Wales received 8,290 reports last year – despite key advice for members of the public being to report emergencies to police via 999 as officers can attend more quickly and have the power of entry to locked vehicles.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Parking Association, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, National Welfare Trust, The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), PDSA, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, #TeamOtisUK and Wood Green The Animals Charity have all teamed up to spread the message: Dogs Die in Hot Cars.

Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign manager, Holly Barber, from the RSPCA, said: “Last year was our busiest for three years with almost 8,300 emergency calls made to the RSPCA about this issue – that’s a 5% increase from 2017 and a 15% rise from 2016.

“It’s extremely concerning that despite all of our campaigning, dog owners are still ignoring our warnings and risking their pets’ lives by leaving them alone in cars on warm days. How many more dogs need to die before people realise that the split-second decision – usually made due to convenience – could have life changing consequences?”

Dogs can really suffer with heat-related conditions when the weather gets warmer. A quarter (26%) of vets surveyed as part of BVA’s autumn 2018 survey said they’d seen cases of dogs requiring treatment for heat-related conditions over the summer.

The survey also found that almost one in seven vets (13%) had seen a dog coming into their practice suffering as a result of being left in a car.

BVA junior vice President Danielle Dos Ssantos, said: “Vets all too often see the unfortunate and sometimes tragic consequences of dogs being left on their own in cars, and its deeply worrying that so many owners are still prepared to take this risk despite numerous warnings. With summer just around the corner, it’s vital that everyone thinks twice about leaving dogs in a hot car even for a short while: ‘not long’ is too long.”

It’s important to remember not to leave any animal in any vehicle or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise even when it doesn’t feel that arm outside.

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

The RSPCA advise that in an emergency, it’s 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, they would need police assistance at such an incident.