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Danger! Dogs locked in cars on hot sunny days can be fatal

Car Heat for dogs poster
The poster on the left may seem a little extreme, but it is true. A car interior can heat up to very dangerous temperatures in the sun and it can be extremely dangerous and fatal to your dog, if they happen to be locked in there.
Did you know that the RSPCA receive around 6,000 calls per year from people who have seen dogs locked in cars on hot summer days? Dogs are being left in cars on public streets, car parks, supermarket car parks and even at public events like festivals and fun fairs. Not only is it dangerous for the dog but there is also the possibility of your car being broken into or even stolen and your dog being taken away with it.
But the major danger is the heat that accumulates in a locked car. What some dog owners don’t know is that a dog can die from heatstroke in as little as 20 minutes. Some people take over an hour to do the shopping, two hours to run errands. In warm weather locked cars can become ovens, even on a summer cloudy day an interior of a car can reach a temperature that’s dangerously hot for a dog.
When it’s 22 C (72 F) outside the temperature in a locked car can reach 42C (117 F). Imagine how much higher that can get on hotter sunnier days? Simply for this reason you should never leave your dog inside a locked car.
Car interior temperature heat chart
You can see by the temperature chart above, that it doesn’t take long for the heat inside a to rapidly rise to very dangerous and fatal levels.
Some dog owners even leave water for their dog, put a sun shield over the windscreen and even leave the windows slightly open. Even doing all this does not help the dog cope with the high temperatures. A dog panting for breath in a parked car is a tell tale sign that the dog is about to start suffering from heatstroke. Dogs pant to keep themselves cool. Even car owners that have had their air condition system running during their journey may be not aware that as soon as they switch off the engine and leave their dog inside, the temperatures quickly soar.
If you ever see a dog locked in a parked car on a hot summer day and see the dog panting, call the police or the animal authorities immediately. If you are in a supermarket car park and see a situation just like this then make a note of the number plate and ask the supermarket customer service team to put out a tannoy message so that the owner can return to their car immediately.

It’s now illegal to leave your dog in locked car in the hot summer

Thankfully it is now illegal to leave your dog locked in a parked car in the hot summer months and hopefully less dog owners are doing it. Under the Animal Welfare Act you now have a legal duty to care for your animal and if you put your animal at risk, you could face prosecution. You would also have to live with the fact that your actions resulted in terrible suffering for your pet.
a dog stroller can keep your pet cool on a hot day
If you are going out in the car and worried about leaving your dog alone at home then another option would be to invest in a dog stroller which are perfect for small to medium dogs. Not only are they able to come with you while you run your errands but they can stay inside the stroller out of the harsh sunlight. The insides of the stroller are kept cool due to the mesh window panels that keep the inside of the stroller well ventilated. The dog has privacy inside the stroller and can relax and have a snooze. The other great thing about a stroller is that they fold up easily and can be placed in the boot of your car.
Dog strollers can also be left safely outside shops that do not allow dogs inside. The dog will still be protected from the sun and even the rain if the weather turns bad. But strollers can be taken around shopping malls, and dog friendly establishments. The dog can enjoy it’s privacy inside the stroller and won’t be bothered by other animals or prying eyes.

Dangers of leaving your dog in a locked car in warm weather

it's dangerous to leave a dog in a hot conservatory
It’s not just in locked cars that dogs can suffer from heatstroke. Locked caravans and keeping your dog in a conservatory, while you go out is also running the risk of giving your dog heatstroke on hot sunny days. Typical British weather can change from clouds to sunny spells very quickly and the temperatures can rise in a locked conservatory or caravan during the day.
Even taking your dog to the beach or spending a whole day outside is dangerous for your dog. Like humans dogs can get sun burn and suffer from heat exhaustion and sunstroke. If you wish to take your dog outdoors with you for long periods of time then be well prepared. Always take lots of drinking water with you. Quiet beaches or parks can sometimes be miles away from the nearest grocery store or public tap.
See our articles on how to deal with heatstroke and how to keep your dog cool in the summer months.
If you are planning to take your dog on day trips to the beach or park then invest in a dog stroller, designed for small to medium dogs or even a pop up tent for larger dogs. The tent can also be used by children who are also prone to dangers from the sun. Keeping your dog in the shade can help reduce the risk of heat related health problems.
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