The RSPCA received more than 300 calls – that’s two calls an hour – last week, during a mini heatwave which swept across England & Wales.
The animal welfare charity received 317 reports of animals in hot environments, the majority of which were dogs that had been left in hot cars, from Monday 28 May to Sunday 3 June – when temperatures hit the mid 20s. Advice is that people should contact the police on 999 if they see a dog in distress in a hot car but on average more than two calls an hour were still made to the charity.
The RSPCA is one of 14 organisations which run the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign each year, reminding pet owners never to leave their animals in hot environments such as vehicles, caravans, conservatories and outbuildings.
Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign manager Holly Barber, who works for the RSPCA, said: “It’s difficult to understand why we are still receiving so many calls when the weather improves and why owners are still dicing with their pet’s lives.
“It’s simple – never leave your pet alone in a hot environment. Whether you’re popping into the shop for a newspaper or nipping into a pharmacy to pick up a prescription, please don’t take the risk.
“Last week, we had more than 300 calls about animals in hot environments and this figure should be zero.”
Unfortunately, despite the campaign’s clear messaging, owners continue to put their pets at risk by leaving them unattended in stationary vehicles, believing they will be okay if they park in the shade or leave windows open.
The RSPCA is urging owners never to take the risk and to either take their pet with them for their outing or leave them at home in the cool with access to lots of water.
In 2017, the charity received 7,199 calls about animals in hot environments.
Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said: “Never leave an animal in a car, caravan, conservatory or outbuilding when it’s warm outside as temperatures can quickly rise, even when it doesn’t feel that hot. For example, when it’s 22C outside, within an hour the temperature can reach 47C inside a vehicle, which can result in death.
“In an emergency, please dial 999 to report a dog in a hot car to police as they have the power to enter a vehicle to free the dog.
“Sadly, the RSPCA has been made aware of far too many animals perishing inside vehicles due to the heat when their owners simply weren’t aware of the dangers of leaving their pets unattended during the warm weather. Please don’t take the risk and either keep your dog with you or leave them at home in the cool.”
For more information about what to do if your dog is showing signs of heatstroke and for tips on how best to take care of your pet during the summer, see the RSPCA website.
If you see a dog in a hot car and have concerns please contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999 for advice. If it’s an emergency and you believe the dog needs immediate help please contact the police on 999 as police officers have the power to enter a vehicle and remove the animal.