Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. Many people still believe that it's okay to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they're parked in the shade, but the truth is, it's still a very dangerous situation for the dog. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999.
Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day
In common with many animals dogs are extremely sensitive to heat and even on a mildly warm day they can quickly overheat-even with the windows open and water available. Dogs can die when left unattended in a vehicle. The British weather can change very quickly so even on a cloudy day leaving a dog in a car or other vehicle can prove fatal.
Some people think that it is illegal to leave a dog in a car. This is not the case but, if your dog is suffering as a result, that can be an offence. This is most likely to happen when the weather is hot or sunny - your car acts like an oven and heats up very quickly, even if you leave windows open, and a dog can suffer heatstroke in as little as 5 or 10 minutes (leaving a water bowl in the car does not help).
Some key points to remember
Consider the weather and your journey in advance, especially if you don't have air conditioning in your vehicle. Think about whether the journey is absolutely necessary for your dog.
Make sure your dog has plenty of space and isn't squashed or forced to sit in direct sunlight.
Always make sure there is shade provided: even in an air conditioned vehicle a dog can become too hot if in full sun.
Make sure plenty of stops are taken with lots of water available to drink.
Take cold water in a thermos rather than a plastic bottle so it stays cold rather than being lukewarm. Ice cubes are helpful in a thermos for cooling too.
Be aware of the signs of overheating in dogs, which include panting, disorientation, excessive thirst, dark gums, vomiting, diarrhoea and losing consciousness.
Leave a dog unattended in a vehicle, even with the window open and water available. Take them out and leave them in a secure, cool place with access to shade and water or take them with you.
Let your dog take part in unnecessary exertion in hot weather, or stand in exposed sunlight for extended lengths of time.
Pass by a dog if you see one suffering in a car or other vehicle. Whether it be in a supermarket car park or at a show, make sure you let someone in authority know and if in doubt call the police on emergency number 999.
What to do if your dog overheats
Contact the vet immediately.
Move the dog out of the heat.
Offer the dog cool, rather than cold, water for small drinks if the dog is still conscious.
If possible, fan the dog with cool air.
Wrap in cool, damp towels or spray with cool, not cold, water. Pay particular attention to the head.
Cool the dog's tongue by dabbing with a cold, damp cloth.