Temperatures topped 22C in Eastbourne today (6 May).
With the warm weather set to stay for the weekend, the RSPCA is reminding dog owners, not to leave their animals in cars.
It’s important to remember not to leave any animal in a car or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise to 47C which can result in death.
Last month, RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes left a thermometer in his van in 15C heat and left it for an hour to see what temperature it would reach inside his vehicle. Within just 60 minutes, the temperature had climbed to 43.5C.
Inspector Joynes said: “In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.
“If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately.”
If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage. Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.
Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and douse him/her with cool water. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration. Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.
You can call the RSPCA 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, in a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.