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Keeping Dogs Safe in Hot Weather

Sunny sky

Although the heat can be very enjoyable, it also comes with some risks for our dogs. Here are some ways to keep your dog safe and cool:

  • Make sure your dog has access to water at all times. This means ensuring the water bowl is full before you leave the house and bringing a bottle of water/a bowl on walks.
  • Don’t leave your dog outside in the open all day. If you need to leave them in the garden for a little while, make sure they have a shaded spot to lie down and plenty of water.
  • Cool a room down in your house by opening the windows and drawing the curtains, so that your dog can rest if they’re getting too hot.
  • Avoid taking your dog for a walk in the middle of a hot day. Instead, take them earlier in the morning or in the late evening.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a car, even for a few minutes. If it’s 22° outside, a car’s temperature can reach 47° within an hour.

When your dog gets too hot, they can develop heatstroke, which can be lethal. Signs of heatstroke:

  • Panting heavily
  • Drooling excessively
  • Lethargic or Drowsy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Collapsing
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea

Take IMMEDIATE action If you notice any of these signs. Your dog will be need to have its body temperate lowered gradually; the RSPCA advise on the following steps to take:

  • Move your dog to a cool/shaded area
  • Douse your dog in COOL (not cold) water
  • Allow them to drink small amounts of water
  • Continue this until their breathing has steadied
  • Once your dog has cooled, take them to the nearest vet straight away
     

What to do if you see a dog in a parked car on a warm day

Anthony Joynes, an RSPCA Inspector said: “In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to the police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d police assistance at such an incident. If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke… call 999 immediately.”

It is often people’s instinct is to break into the car and free the dog from it if the police aren’t able to get there quickly enough or the dog’s state is getting worse, however, without suitable justification this could be classed as criminal damage. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.

If you decide to do this, make sure you inform the police of what you intend to do and why, take photo/videos of the dog and the names/contact information of any witnesses present.

For more information, visit the RSPCA website.