As summer kicks in, a timely reminder for pet owners: it’s both dangerous and illegal to leave an animal locked in a hot vehicle.
If it becomes ill or dies, the owner is likely to face a charge of animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act.
Here’s a short checklist designed to ensure that dogs stay safe and comfortable on car journeys:
Leave your dog at home on warm days. If you do need to transport your dog, take plenty of fresh drinking water, and a bowl. Ensure your dog is able to stay cool on a journey.
Don’t let your dog travel unrestrained. Instead, it’s better to use a proper travel basket or crate to create a safer space. Dog seatbelts and travel harnesses are also available.
If you think the dog might be too hot, then you will need to stop somewhere safe and give him a good drink of water. Animals are unable to sweat in the way that humans can.
Dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws, so if you have left your dog in the car on a hot day, it only takes a few minutes for it to succumb to the symptoms of heatstroke.
If you suspect your dog is developing heatstroke on a journey, stop somewhere safe and take him into the shade or to somewhere cool. However, if signs of heat exhaustion become apparent (for example excessive thirst, heavy panting, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness), you should go straight to a veterinary surgeon.
If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action. For example, if you’re in a supermarket, mall or garden centre car park, note the car make, model, colour and registration number, then go inside and ask for an announcement to be made.
If this doesn’t bring the owner out, or you’re in a location where finding the owner is impossible, then call the police.