A scorching Easter weekend saw a flood of emergency calls to the RSPCA reporting animals suffering from heat exposure.
The animal welfare charity received 166 emergency calls over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (Friday 19 – Monday 22 April) when temperatures reached the mid 20s.
That’s almost two calls every hour reporting animals suffering from heat exposure, the majority of which related to dogs being left in hot cars.
Last Easter, (Friday 30 March – Monday 2 April 2018) the charity received just seven reports of a similar nature as the weather was much poorer.
RSPCA chief veterinary officer Caroline Allen said: “We were thrilled to see such beautiful weather over the Bank Holiday Weekend, but rising temperatures and strong sunshine can make it extremely uncomfortable – and potentially dangerous – for our pets.
“Unfortunately, over the four-day Easter weekend our emergency hotline received 166 reports of animals suffering in the heat – the majority of which relates to dogs who have been left in cars in the heat.
“Every year we lead the annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign to highlight the risk of leaving your pet alone in a stationary vehicle – but every year we continue to receive thousands of calls from concerned members of the public who have seen dogs left in these potentially lethal situations.”
The RSPCA is often a concerned caller’s first port of call when they spot a distressed dog shut inside a car on a warm day, but the charity is urging all members of the public in England and Wales NOT to call its hotline but to instead contact police on 999.
Police officers have the power to enter a vehicle to rescue a dog in need and are also likely to be able to attend much more quickly than the RSPCA, which has limited resources.
As well as urging dog owners never to leave their pet inside a vehicle, caravan, conservatory of outbuilding during warm weather, the RSPCA is also encouraging pet owners to take extra care with their pets while temperatures are high.
Caroline added: “It’s really important to take extra care of our pets when it’s hot outside as many animals can struggle in the warm temperatures. Make sure your animal has access to shade and always has fresh drinking water available.
“If you have a dog, walk them early in the morning or late at night when its cooler and avoid taking them out for long days out in the sun as they can easily overheat. If you’re concerned that your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, speak to your vet as soon as possible.”
For more information you can visit www.rspca.org.uk.