In the midst of a heatwave, car manufacturer Skoda is reminding dog-owning drivers of the dangers of keeping their pooches in hot cars.
Unsurprisingly the very hot and dry conditions in the UK this July have led to a surge in calls to the RSPCA. Over the last month the charity has received 2,835 calls from concerned members of the public and many of these have related to dogs being left in cars.
Skoda points out that even in 22-degree temperatures a car can reach a much hotter 47 degrees Celsius in under an hour. This can be fatal to dogs even in short periods, and the mercury has been hitting 30 degrees on several occasions this summer.
To help raise awareness, Skoda has started a campaign featuring photos of RSPCA rescue dogs with their cars to show owners that they should not leave a dog alone in a vehicle. Even whilst driving, Skoda advises to keep windows open or to use air conditioning to keep temperatures down.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards said: “Our pet dogs are part of the family so it’s great that so many families choose to take their canine companion with them on holiday and for days out.
“If you face a long journey with your four-legged friend it’s really important to make sure everyone is safe, secure and comfortable for the duration of the drive.”
Skoda and the RSPCA has also released a list of tips to try and lower the total of 7,876 calls about animals left in hot environments that were made in 2017:
- Never leave your dog alone in the vehicle so they don’t get anxious or overheat
- In hot weather, always leave the window slightly open when driving to provide fresh air for your dog. Summer can be a very dangerous time for dogs on their travels
- Always carry food and water with you to keep your dog hydrated
- Invest in appropriate pet restraints, such as a pet barrier or seat belt, to ensure your dog remains in the back of the car throughout your journey
- On long journeys and hot days, take regular breaks to provide water for your dog
- Where possible exercise your dog with a short walk during your breaks
- When the vehicle is moving, don’t let a dog hang its head outside car windows, no matter how much they enjoy it!
- Before embarking on a long journey, take your dog on short journeys to get them used to travelling in the car
- Keep a close eye on your pet when travelling to make sure they are not showing signs of travel-related problems such as barking, whining, jumping, salivating, vomiting, cowering or restlessness
- If your dog is nervous when travelling use reward-based training methods. If you continue to have problems visit your vet or a clinical animal behaviourist
- Make sure there aren’t any loose items that could harm your dog in the boot or on the back seat of your car
- Bring their favourite blanket or toy to help relax your dog
- Dogs travel better without a full stomach so it’s best to feed them more than two hours before you set off
- Travelling crates, dog guards and car harnesses safely secure your pet when travelling. Ensure that the crate is big enough for your dog and is positioned somewhere with good airflow so they don’t get too hot
- If you see a dog in a car on a warm day and are concerned for his/her welfare please alert the police by dialling 999