Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Dogs Die As RSPCA Urges Owners Not To Leave Dogs In Hot Cars

As temperature soars, so do calls about dogs left alone in the heat.

The RSPCA is renewing its plea to owners to not leave their pets in hot cars as dogs are losing their lives in the crippling heat.

A tragic incident happened yesterday after two dogs were in a car in Nottingham on one of the hottest days of the year. It has also been reported that a dog died after being left in a car in Chichester during the hot weather at the end of last week.

The RSPCA has been inundated with calls from members of the public who are worried about animals which have been trapped in hot environments such as cars or gardens without shade. The Society received a whopping total of 1,058 calls with concerns for the welfare of dogs in the hot weather throughout June. 109 of those calls were taken on Monday (June 29) when temperatures topped 30 degrees. More than 250 calls were also received regarding other animals suffering in the heat.

Pet owners are being reminded to never leave an animal in a car at any time during hot weather. Temperatures can dramatically increase and rise to as much as 47 degrees in less than an hour. Airconditioned cars can reach the same temperature as outside within just five minutes of the system being turned off.

Many owners believe that leaving a car window open or a bowl of water nearby is enough but in reality this will make virtually no difference and the dog is still in serious danger of literally being cooked alive.

RSPCA chief veterinary adviser Mark Evans said: “A hot car can be a death trap for dogs, it is as simple as that. Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy summer day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death.

“This is not a new warning, but sadly too many people still don’t appreciate how dangerous it can be to leave a dog in a hot car, conservatory or caravan. Don’t let your dog be the one to find out the hard way.”

Animals & hot weather – RSPCA tips & information:
• All dogs will suffer in extreme heat, but some are more prone to heatstroke than others. Dogs that are
old, young, short nosed, long-haired, overweight or heavily muscled are more at risk, as well as dogs with certain diseases.
• Particular breeds of dog, such as flat-faced pug dogs and bulldogs are also particularly susceptible to heat stoke.
• Owners should also bear in mind that dogs can suffer from heat stroke at any time, such as when they are out for a walk. It is therefore advised that they are kept out of the midday sun and taken out for a walk in the early morning or evening to avoid the temperature extremes.
• Pets should also not be left in conservatories, outbuildings or caravans during the hot weather as it poses the same risk.
• Owners who fear their dog may be suffering from heat stroke should act with great urgency. Warning signs include overly red or purple gums, a rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhoea, lack of co-ordination and a reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing or suffering seizures.
• Pets should be moved to a cooler spot straight away before ringing your vet for advice immediately.
• Under the Animal Welfare Act, those found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal face a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a six-month custodial sentence.