03 Oct 2022

Dogs Trust warns dog owners 'never leave your dogs in parked cars' during Summer heatwave

Top tips for keeping dogs safe this Summer

Dogs Trust warns dog owners 'never leave your dogs in parked cars' during Summer heatwave

Keep pets cool this week

Ahead of what looks to be a scorcher this week, Dogs Trust, Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity, is warning the public of the serious dangers of leaving dogs in cars during the summer months.

The charity advises that dogs should never be left alone in cars. Even just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to your dog.

On a 22-degree Celsius day, the temperature inside your car could rise by 11 degrees in just 10 minutes. Dogs can’t cool down the same way as humans, so this heat can quickly become dangerous for them. 

Dogs Trust has issued the following advice to keep dogs safe and well on hot days:

Never, ever leave your dog in a car in warm weather, even if it feels cool outside – parking in the shade with a window down does very little to lower the temperature inside a car.

Avoid walking your dog at the hottest time of the day – often morning and later in the evening can be cooler.

Make sure your dog has access to plenty of water, you can add ice cubes to help keep it cooler for longer.

Always take plenty of water with you when out and about with your dog.

Make sure your dog has shaded areas to cool off in, both indoors and outdoors.

Think twice about any car trips with your dog - avoid congested roads or busy times of day when they could overheat in the car if you are caught up in traffic.

Avoid long car journeys in hot weather, if you need to travel, avoid the heat of the day and use a sunblind for shade.
Don’t allow your dog to get too much sun. Just like people, they can get sunburnt too – especially dogs with white or very thin coats.

Be extra vigilant with younger, older, overweight dogs and those with breathing difficulties as they are more prone to overheating.

What to do if you see a dog alone in a car on a hot day:

If you see a dog alone in a car, first have a look around for the owner. If you cannot see the owner and you are worried the dog may be suffering from heatstroke, contact the local Garda Station and give them details of the situation.

Stay with the dog until the Gardaí arrive but do not attempt to access the car as you could be liable for any damage caused to the vehicle. Once the dog has been safely removed from the car, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Speaking about keeping your dog cool this Summer, Sarah Lynch, Campaigns Manager, Dogs Trust Ireland said: "Summer is such a wonderful time of the year and there’s nothing better than a lovely sunny day in Ireland, but we need to ensure our furry friends are kept safe and cool!  We would always advise that you should never leave your dog alone in a car. Just a few minutes in a hot car can prove fatal for a dog.

"Many dog owners believe it is okay to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken, such as parking under a tree or leaving a window open.  Unfortunately, this is a myth – in reality, partially lowering the window has no significant effect on the temperature inside a parked car. It’s also important to note that dogs can suffer from sunburn just like us so try to avoid your dog getting too much sun exposure.

Those facing a higher risk are dogs with white or light-coloured hair, those with short or no hair at all and dogs that have lost hair through allergies or medical treatment. Always seek the advice of a registered veterinary practitioner before using sunscreen on your dog, even if it is labelled as “Pet-Safe or Dog-Friendly.”

Dogs Trust Veterinary Surgeon, Desré Daly advises: “If your dog displays signs of heatstroke such as; excessive panting; red gums and tongue; heavy salivation; vomiting or diarrhoea; lack of coordination; or loss of consciousness, take your dog out of the sun immediately and seek urgent veterinary advice. Use a cool wet towel or cool water spray to gently reduce the dog’s external skin temperature, but make sure to remove the towels as they start to dry.

If your dog is conscious, encourage him to drink small amounts of cool water, to help bring his temperature down further. If you are driving to the vet, make an active attempt to cool the car on the way by driving with the windows fully down or air-conditioning on.”

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