With temperatures exceeding the 30°C mark today and set to go even higher this week, IAM RoadSmart has issued some useful information on making sure your dog doesn’t suffer in such hot conditions.
Everyone knows dogs can die if left in a car on a hot day, but it’s not just being left in a car that can cause them to overheat.
When travelling with your pet make sure they are secure and either in their own cage or tethered to a secure cargo point or seatbelt clip.
Do not secure the dog by their collar as they could injure themselves in the event of an emergency braking situation; you should use a good fitting harness or a crash tested dog seatbelt.
Having your pet secure, and a collar on the dog with a lead handy means that you can get control of your dog before unsecuring them - and reduce the chance of them jumping out of the car without them trying to leap out when the door is opened.
Air conditioning is useful in hot weather but remember it does not always reach the area where your dog might be travelling, so they might be uncomfortably warm while you are at the right temperature.
Consider getting sun shades for the side windows where your dog is and give them access to a travel water bottle or bowl. You can also get a cool mat for them to sit on and/or a cooling jacket to help keep their body temperature down.
Think about what time you travel and where you stop to let your dog have a leg stretch as the road surface might be too hot for their paws. A quick test would be to put the back of your hand on the surface for seven seconds – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.
Try to stop somewhere where the dog has access to a grassy area and walk them gently – try not to let them run around in the heat of the day as this can also make them poorly from heatstroke.
Normally we would advise you leave your dog in the car if you break down, but in this hot weather you need to consider their well-being - and the fact that it only takes a few minutes for the dog to become very distressed and start suffering from heatstroke.
Every year dogs suffer and die when their owners make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car, even when it is for “just a minute” while they run an errand.
Parked cars can be death traps for dogs in warm weather: when the temperature outside is 25°C, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 37°C in just minutes. On a 32°C day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 42°C in less than 10 minutes.
If you see a dog locked in a hot car and are worried about its well-being, call the police on 999 and explain the situation stating exactly where the car is and as many details as possible.
Illustration courtesy of the RSPCA.