Dogs die in hot cars

The Great British staycation is here to stay, with up to 30 million Brits expected to holiday in the UK in 2022. And it's likely many of us will be taking our four-legged friends along. But dogs aren't welcome everywhere, so we're urging you to plan your outings carefully. A little forward thinking could save your dogs from heatstroke this summer.

Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999.

Many people think it's ok to leave their dog in the car if they're parked in the shade or the windows are open. But a car can become as hot as an oven, even when the weather doesn't feel that warm. When it's 22 degrees Celsius outside, the car could reach an unbearable 47 degrees within an hour. It's very dangerous and will cause your dog suffering and harm.

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

First, assess the dog's condition. If they're showing any signs of heatstroke dial 999 at once.

If the dog's condition is critical, and the police haven't arrived yet, your instinct will be to break into the car to free them. But please be aware that this could be classed as criminal damage. You may need to defend your actions in court, so please be sure you're doing the right thing. Legally, you can commit damage if you believe the car owner would consent to it if they knew the dog was in danger.

If you're sure you need to free the dog, tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take photos or videos of the dog. Are there any other witnesses? Take their names and telephone numbers.

Don't be afraid to dial 999. If it's an emergency, we may not be able to get to you - and the dog - quickly enough. And as we have no powers of entry, we'd need to ask the police to help us rescue the dog. Don't worry - the police will soon let us know if the dog needs our help.

What do I do once the dog is free?

Check if the dog is showing signs of heatstroke or is in distress. If they are, immediately follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.

How can I help a dog who appears OK?

If the dog doesn't seem in distress, you can leave them in the car and follow these actions.

  • Work out how long the dog has been in the car. A 'pay and display' ticket could help.
  • Make a note of the car's registration. If the owner returns but you still feel they'd put the dog in danger, you can tell the police.
  • If you're at a shop, venue or event, ask staff to alert the owner over the loudspeaker.
  • Make sure you, or someone else, stays with the dog. Monitor their condition. If they get worse be prepared to call 999.
  • You can call our cruelty line for advice on 0300 1234 999. But if a dog is in danger, dialing 999 should be your first step.

Share our #DogsDieInHotCars campaign

Help us raise awareness of the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars. You may just save a dog's life.

Download and print our poster and leaflet:

Keep your dog healthy and happy this summer

Get ready for the hot weather with our top tips to keep your dog cool. See The Outdoor Guide's website for some great places to go on dog-friendly walks. And read our advice on planning summer holidays and days out:

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