"What You Should Do When You See a Dog or Other Pet in a Hot Car

"What You Should Do When You See a Dog or Other Pet in a Hot Car

Health & Safety

Luckily, the majority of animal lovers realise that it is just not safe to leave any pet in a vehicle when temperatures heat up during summer months. However, it happens and all too often dogs and other animals succumb to the oven-like conditions. The temperature inside a vehicle can reach a whopping 99 degrees in under 10 minutes and leaving a window or two open will not change things that much which means any animal left inside will literally cook to death!

But what should you do if you see a dog or any other pet in a parked car when the temperature is warming up on the outside? Should you break a window and take the consequences or should you phone for the emergency services to come along. Sometimes this can take a little too long which can leave you feeling pretty helpless as the dog or other animal continues to suffer in front of your eyes.

Leaving Windows Open Doesn't Make it Safer

Too many dog and pet owners still think that by leaving car windows open means they can safely leave their animals in their vehicles when the weather is hot. According to Dogs Trust a whopping 48% of people do this thinking that as long as the car is parked in the shade and the windows are left slightly open, their dogs will be fine. Over the last few years, emergency calls to rescue dogs from boiling cars has increased by a frightening 50%.

What To Do In An Emergency

Naturally, you need to see if the owner of the animal and car are close by and then make sure they realise the seriousness of the situation and conditions their pet has been left in. If you can't see or find the owner, the next thing you have to do is call the Police on their non-emergency number and then an animal rescue centre. However, it only takes around 20 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car so the question of how long it would take for the emergency services to arrive can be a real issue.

A dog that's suffering will pant excessively and start whimpering which then turns to barking – pretty soon they lose muscle control as their kidneys start to fail which means not enough blood reaches their brains which can cause irreversible damage – 20 minutes in these conditions and their hearts will stop beating.

To Break a Car Window or Not to Break it?

The question many concerned people would like to know is whether they would be permitted to break a car window in order to rescue a dying pet whether it is a dog, a cat or other. Many believe this could be the wrong thing to do because it would be criminal damage"". However, according to the law there is a clause known as the ""Good Samaritan"" clause and if a pet's life is in the balance, then a concerned party could break the window to rescue it and do so with impunity.

With this said, you would not be liable for prosecution for criminal damage under current statute law but you may well have to argue your case in a civil suit. But this rarely happens because the majority of solicitors in the country would not be willing to bring action against someone who broke a car window to save a dog or other animal's life.

Advice & Tips for Concerned Animal Lovers & Pet Owners

  • Never think it is safe to leave a dog or other pet in a parked car even if this is only for a few minutes – cars get very hot inside, they heat up incredibly quickly even if the temperature outside is not that hot and you have parked your vehicle in the shade with the windows down – this does not make it any safer for animals to be left in cars!
  • If you see a dog or other animal in a parked car and the weather is warm, call the non emergency Police number (101) and the RSPCA immediately. If the dog looks in a lot of distress – break the car window and rescue them – you can do this with impunity under the ""Good Samaritan"" clause!
  • An animal that's overheated needs to be cooled down as quickly and as safely as possible. They need to be put in the shade and a cool (not freezing) towel or cloth gently rubbed all over their bodies to bring their body temperature down
  • If you have air conditioning in your car, you can place an overheated dog in front of a vent to cool them down and spraying cool water on their bodies can help too – a dog or other animal that's been left in a hot car needs to be given veterinary treatment as a matter of urgency
  • If you have to travel anywhere with a pet in the car – travel at night when the weather is cooler. Leave a window slightly open so fresh air circulates around the vehicle as you drive along will help your pets stay cooler
  • Always travel with plenty of fresh water in the car and make lots of breaks en route so your dog gets to stretch their legs, drink some water and to cool off – it is really important for animals to drink lots of water when they travel because dehydration can set in very quickly which could lead to damaged kidneys something which needs to be avoided at all costs


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