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25th Jun 2022

The dangers of leaving pets in hot cars and what to do if you see one

Melissa Carton

Summer has arrived but it doesn’t come without its dangers for our furry friends.

Every year dogs are left inside cars on hot days, which is a recipe for tragedy during the warmer months.

To help avoid any harm coming to dogs this summer the Nationwide Vehicle Contracts is offering advice on how to keep your pets safe and what to do if you find a dog suffering in a hot car.

dog in car

The heat can be fatal to our furry friends so it’s vital that new and experienced owners alike remember the facts.

The inside of cars can heat up at an alarming rate, even if you only leave the car for a short amount of time:

10 minutes can see a 10°C increase in temperature.
20 minutes can see a 16°C increase in temperature.
30 minutes can see a 19°C increase in temperature
One hour can see a 23°C increase in temperature
Over one hour can see a 24 to 29°C increase in temperature.

Heat exhaustion can occur when the bodies temperature reaches 32°C and heatstroke can occur when the bodies temperature reaches over 40°C.

Heatstroke can be deadly for dogs and this is why you should never leave an animal alone in a vehicle for any amount of time.

When faced with the dilemma of leaving your pet alone or unloading the whole car and dragging a canine around while you quickly run an errand – you might be tempted to leave your poochy pal on their own for a few moments.

However, even if you’ve taken precautions like parking in the shade and cracking a window, it’s not enough. Dogs don’t sweat like humans and can only lose heat through panting. This means they struggle to regulate their temperature if stuck in a hot space and the effects can be deadly.

What to do if you see an animal left unattended in a car in the heat:

Call for the owner and alert staff if you’re by a shop
If you see a dog alone in a car during summer, you should first check to see if the owner is nearby. If you’re near a shop, inform the staff and security, they’ll be able to make a shop-wide announcement to alert the owner.

Call 999
The local police have the authority to break a car window to rescue an animal in danger but you should not attempt to gain access to the vehicle as you could be fined for criminal damage or injure the animal inside the car.

Check the doors and inform the police of your intentions
If there’s no alternative, you should first check the doors to see if the car has been left unlocked. If you do have to break a window to save the animal make sure you call 999 and let the police know what you’re doing and take photos and videos to clearly record the situation. You should also note down the license plate number and any witness details.

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car,dog,pet safety