Dogs die in hot cars

Dogs die in hot cars

Don't leave your dog alone in a car.


When it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes.


Dogs pant to keep cool. In hot stuffy cars dogs can’t cool down - leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens won’t keep your car cool enough.


If you see a dog in a car on a warm day, call the Police on 999. If the police are unable to attend, please call our 24-hour cruelty line 0300 1234 999.


Heatstroke - early warning signs

Heatstroke can be fatal. Some dogs are more prone than others:

  • dogs with short snouts
  • fatter/muscley dogs
  • long-haired breeds
  • old/young dogs
  • dogs with certain diseases/on certain medication


Heatstroke develops when dogs can’t reduce their body temperature. Symptoms include:

 
  • heavy panting 
  • profuse salivation 
  • rapid pulse 
  • very red gums/tongue 
  • lethargy 
  • lack of coordination 
  • reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing 
  • vomiting 
  • diarrhoea 
  • loss of consciousness.


Heatstroke - first aid

Act quickly, heatstroke can be fatal! If dogs show any signs of heatstroke, move them to a shaded, cool area. Ring your vet immediately.


Urgently, gradually lower their body temperature:

  • Immediately douse them with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock – you could use a shower, or spray and place them in the breeze of a fan.
     
  • Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
     
  • Continue dousing until their breathing settles – never cool dogs so much that they begin shivering.


Once your dog is cool, immediately go to the vet.


Warm weather tips

Dog panting at the open window of a hot car © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary
  • Your dog must always be able to move into a cooler, ventilated environment.
     
  • Never leave dogs alone in cars, glass conservatories or caravans even if it’s cloudy.
     
  • If you do leave dogs outside, you must provide a cool shady spot where they can escape from the sun.
     
  • Always provide good supplies of drinking water, in a weighted bowl that can’t be knocked over. Carry water with you on hot days.
     
  • Groom dogs regularly to get rid of excess hair. Give long-coated breeds a haircut at the start of summer.
     
  • Never allow dogs to exercise excessively in hot weather.
     
  • Dogs can get sunburned – particularly those with light-coloured noses/fur on their ears. Ask your vet for advice on pet-safe sunscreen.