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Dogs die in hot cars

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.

Join our ‘ Cool Dog Summer’ workshop

If you're interested in learning some tips and championing how to help keep dogs cool in summer, email us for the details.

Workshop dates: 30 May, 27 June, 25 July. Online and in-person options available.

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:

The alternative to taking your dog out in hot weather

Whilst your dog may look disappointed that you're leaving them at home for a few hours while you go out - it really is in their best interest on a hot day. As long as they have managed to have a dawn or late evening walk and you're not leaving them for longer than four hours they should be happy either napping or with some things to do.

Preparing a Kong with mashed banana or dog food and then freezing it is a great long-lasting treat for a hot day. Lick mats are also a helpful addition as dogs also take comfort in licking. You might even want to hide some treats around the house or leave them their favourite toy.

Make sure, if you have a conservatory, your dog doesn't have access. When you go out leave them in a cool place and have the conservatory doors shut tight so they don't wander in and get stuck if a door shuts on them.

Keeping your dog healthy and happy this summer

Find out more