A WESTBURY vet has warned dog owners never to leave their pets alone in cars on hot days, following concerns raised by local residents.
There have been reports in the town of dogs being left in locked, parked vehicles in the recent high temperatures and also about the animals being walked on hot pavements.
Matt Pack, veterinary surgeon from Garston’s, has urged people, through the White Horse News, “Never leave a dog alone in a car on a hot day for any length of time. When it is 22 degrees outside the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees within an hour or less. Leaving the windows or parking in shade will slow the heating process but is still not safe.
“If you see a dog in distress in a car on warm day call 999 and inform the police who will inform the RSPCA if required.
“If you decide to break into the car yourself be aware this can be classed as criminal damage and will have to be justified in court. Always discuss the case with the police first.
“If the dog is not in distress you can contact the RSPCA or ask someone to make an announcement at the shopping venue/event you are at. “
Matt issued the following advice about caring for dogs in the heat:
“Despite humans enjoying the current heat wave our pets often struggle in these conditions. Dogs aren’t able to sweat through their skin as we do and keeping cool relies on panting, drinking and losing heat through their noses and pads which is less effective. If you feel uncomfortable outside in the weather then your furry companion is going to feel far worse. Brachycephalic (flat faced breeds such as Pugs and French bulldogs) and puppies are at greater risk but even the fittest dogs can be affected.”
Heatstroke in dogs overheating can be fatal and requires emergency veterinary treatment. Signs of heat stroke include: 1. Heavy panting/laboured breathing; 2. Lethargy; 3. Drooling; 4. Dark coloured- red or purple gums or tongue; 5. Drowsiness/uncoordinated/wobbly/non responsive; 6. Vomiting; 7. Collapse.
Matt said, “If you have concerns about your dog it is always worth calling your vet for advice. Dogs are far more likely to survive if presented to the vet earlier.”
To treat heatstroke/overheated dogs, move the dog to a shaded and cool area if possible, pour room temperature (not cold water) over the dog’s body – wet towels help as well but ensure they are replaced regularly, offer small amounts of room temperature water for drinking and call the vet.
Matt offered these tips to can help prevent dogs overheating in hot weather:
Walking; Only walk your dog in the very early morning or late evening after sunset. A day when a walk is missed because it is too hot will not kill your pet but a walk in the heat of the day could.
Pavements and tarmac become very hot in the sun- if you cannot stand barefoot on the pavement or place the palm of your hand there for five seconds without discomfort then it is too hot for your dog’s pads.
In the garden: Always provide a shaded area with easy access to water to drink and a paddling pool if possible. Allow your dog access inside and ensure they aren’t lying in the sun for long periods.
A Wiltshire Police spokesperson said, “There really is no excuse to leave your dogs in cars in this heat. You may not feel particularly hot outside but cars can heat up extremely quickly.
“It is extremely disappointing to be called to incidents of this nature – we are a nation of dog lovers after all, so please think carefully about your actions and leave your dog at home when heading out in your vehicle. Even if you don’t intend on going out for long, plans can change and temperatures can increase dramatically during the day.
“Please do not risk the lives of your pets.”
The RSPCA stresses that dogs die in hot cars and ask people to call 999 if they see a dog in distress in a war on a warm day. For more RSPCA advice follow the link Dogs Die In Hot Cars | RSPCA