A concerned friend messaged me. It was one of the hottest days we have seen in the UK so far, mid 20's, and for us that is stifling hot and she was panicking because in a supermarket car park someone had left their dog in the car with a window cracked (which really doesn't do a lot on a still hot day) and the dog was panting. She was just taking a picture to go and inform Customer Service when the owner came back with no worries in the world. How can anyone in this day and age be so stupid? This time both dog and owner were very lucky but that isn't always the case.
Do me a favour, if you think it's okay to leave your dog in a hot car, even for just a few minutes go and try this out. Put on a warm coat, go and sit in the car when it's hot. Crack the window an inch and then sit there. Sit there and see how you feel. I bet you want to open the window further quite quickly - well don't because your dog can't. Open a door? No they can't do that either. Take your coat off? No. Sit there and feel the sweat come off you (which by the way dogs can't do, they pant instead).
How long before the panic sets in? You feel thirsty? You start to feel sick? Even if you have water it won't do much good, it may prolong things a little but that is all. Imagine being stuck in this car now where you are desperate to get out and you can't. You shout for help but no one comes. The panic makes things worse, the heat is becoming so unbearable, yet there is nothing you can do. Keep that coat on, do not open that window and see how long you last.
You wouldn't do this to yourself so why on earth do you think it's acceptable to do this to your dog? They can't tell you how they are feeling so please do not leave them in that position.
It has been drummed into us year after year, dogs die in hot cars and they really do. But not just hot cars - conservatories, gardens without shade, they can even get heat stroke from being walked at the hottest times of the day (go for early morning or later evening), burn their paws on hot tarmac and die from the effects of heat exhaustion. Yet people still put their loving pets in these positions.
Please take care of all types of pets during this weather, fresh water (all year round), shade, fans inside if needed. Make yourself aware of the symptoms of heatstroke - panting, collapse, breathlessness, dizziness, vomiting, blue gums - heatstroke can be fatal and you need to contact your local vets as a matter of urgency.
Whilst we are here why not look after the wildlife too? Leave out shallow bowls of water for birds, hedgehogs and other mammals, make a bee drinker (a shallow dish with stones and water in so they can sit and have a safe drink).
If you see someone stupid enough to have left their pet alone in the car on a hot day, you see an animal in distress (or God forbid a child - don't get me started), please seek help from the local authorities as a matter of urgency, you might just save a vulnerable life.
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