RSPCA Wakefield: What to do if you spot a dog locked in a hot car

As temperatures are set to reach up to 34C  this week, the beginning of staycation season is upon us.

By Leanne Clarke
Friday, 17th June 2022, 11:10 am

British holiday makers are expected to head to beauty spots across Yorkshire in search of a river to cool off in or a place to lay their picnic, but at some of these locations the four-legged members of our families aren’t always welcome.

Up to 30 million people are expected to stay put this summer and wait for the sunshine to come to them, but with over a quarter of UK adults now owning a dog, fears rise around the danger we could be putting out pets in as the temperatures soar.

If you spot a dog left alone in a car this summer, the RSPCA advise members of the public to assess how the dog appears to be doing and respond accordingly.

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If you spot a dog left alone in a car this summer, the RSPCA advise members of the public to assess how the dog appears to be doing and respond accordingly.

If you see a dog who appears to be fine but has been left in a car alone, try and work out how long they've been inside by checking for a parking ticket and make a note of the car's registration in case you wish to report the incident to the police.

If you're outside a shop or at an event when this happens, you can always alert staff and try to make an announcement to help locate the owner.

The RSPCA receive thousands of calls every day from concerned individuals looking out for the welfare of animals, but in urgent situations when the dog is in distress it’s best to reach out to emergency services.

You should always make sure someone stays with the dog to monitor their condition, and if they are in imminent danger then dial 999.

Although you may wish to speed up the process by forcing your way into the car, be conscious that this would be classed as criminal damage so take photos, videos and get statements and contacts from other witnesses if this is how you choose to respond to the situation.

If you have managed to save a dog in distress, the RSPCA advise first to check for signs of heatstroke and proceed with first aid.

Even if your car is in the shade and the weather doesn’t feel oppressively hot, on a 22C y it only takes an hour for a car to reach almost 50C, which could be fatal for a dog.

We have all been inside a black taxi on a hot day and wished the air conditioning was 10 times more powerful, so we can empathise with how scary the heat can be for animals left with no way to cool down. Whether you're parked in a shaded area, the window is left open or the dog has some water nearby - it is never ok to leave your pet alone in a hot car.

Gena Cameron, Branch Administrator for the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District Branch, recounts how their charity has seen first-hand the implications of dogs being left in hot cars.

"We’ve previously had dogs brought to us in critical condition after being removed from a vehicle on a hot day. Thankfully some quick thinking from those passing by meant this dog was saved, but some are not so lucky.

"Please remember that it does not have to be too warm outside for your car to become too hot for your dog”.

At the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District branch, they make sure their pups have a way to cool off in the heat and the team make it as fun as possible for the rescues.

So, now that your pooch will definitely be by your side on all of your summertime ramblings, it’s good to be mindful to not excessively exercise them in the heat, keep them hydrated and try and squeeze in an early morning walk with them before you get to work on your t-shirt tan.