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    What to do if you see a dog in a hot car

    Articledog health and wellbeingMonday 26 May 2014

    Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has launched for 2014 a campaign to warn dog owners of the dangers of leaving their pets in parked cars, even for a few minutes. 

    Research unveiled as part of Dogs Trust’s campaign shows that despite being a nation of dog lovers, more than one in four UK dog owners admitted to leaving their dogs unattended in cars. Almost half of us (48%) believe that there is no significant risk in leaving our dog in the car if counter-measures are taken, such as parking under a tree or leaving a window open. Unfortunately, this is a myth - in reality partially lowering the window has no significant effect on the temperature inside a parked car.

    Less than 20 minutes in a hot car is more than enough to prove fatal to a dog as his body temperature quickly exceeds 41°C.

    The usual symptoms a dog shows when suffering from excessive heat are: panting, whimpering and barking. If not cared, the following phase can be fatal for a dog: he starts losing muscle control and ultimately the kidneys cease to function, the brain becomes irreversibly damaged and the heart stops.

    Dogs Trust vets have issued the following advice to pet owners and concerned animal lovers:

    1) Don’t leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes - even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe

    2) If you see a dog in distress in a parked car call the Police Service (101) or the RSPCA (SSPCA in Scotland)

    3) Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving. Avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle

    4) Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly

    5) If you are present at the rescue of a dog from a hot car that is clearly in distress, seek immediate veterinary advice. The very first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter, attempt to provide shade from the sun and move to a cooler area. Dampening the dog down with cool (but not freezing) water will help start to bring the body temperature down

    6) Wet towels can be used to cool a dog but these must be regularly changed or spraying them down with water and placing them in front of the air conditioning vent to enhance evaporation on the way to the emergency appointment

    7) Dogs Trust has created a time-lapse video in support of this campaign, featuring a melting ice sculpture of a dog locked in a car. Watch the video here:


    How to cool an overheated dog

    Puppies – Dog Heatstroke Cures

    How to recognize heatstroke in dogs?

    How to prevent heatstroke in your dog?

    How to help your dog beat the heat in the summer?



    Source: Dogs Trust

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