We received 167 calls during Monday's heatwave

Terrier Clyde loves riding in the car

We reveal the shocking reasons we’ve been given from people leaving dogs in hot cars after receiving 167 emergency calls in just one day. 

Over the last two weeks (11-24 June) - as temperatures soared to the high 20s - we've received 625 calls about animals and hot environments (the majority of which relate to dogs left in hot cars). That’s almost two calls every hour, despite our key advice being to call the police on 999 in the event of an emergency.

Despite years of campaigning, people continue to risk their dogs’ lives by leaving them unattended in stationary vehicles in the warm weather. The following are reasons and excuses given to our inspectors by owners returning to their vehicles with dogs left inside:  

“My dog is white, he’ll be fine.”

"They're fine, they're smiling?" (The dogs weren't smiling, they were panting excessively.)

"I parked the car in the shade when I got here, I can't help it if the shade moved."

"The dog barks when I leave it alone in the house, it annoys the neighbours." 

"We only went to buy a new kitchen."

"We feel bad leaving him at home on his own all day."

"I'm having an open day to sell my house, the dogs would have been in the way."

"It's OK, I'm a vet."

"It's not like my dog’s on its own in the car, my kid is with it." (On this occasion 'the kid' was a five-month-old baby strapped into a car seat.)

"I left the window open."

"We didn't think we'd be long."

"I've only been in the pub for half an hour, anyway it's OK, I run a dog rescue centre."

Not long is too long

Our message is clear: ‘Not long is too long’ and we urge anybody with a dog not to take the risk and to leave their pet at home. Temperatures can rise quickly in cars, caravans and even conservatories - when it’s 22 celsius outside, within an hour, the temperature can reach 47 celsius inside a vehicle, which can result in death.

On Monday (25 June) - the hottest day of the year so far - our emergency hotline received 167 calls. That’s around one call every eight minutes!

Two labradors found trapped in car

Our officers and the police were called to York Hospital car park to reports of two dogs shut in a car. Police removed the Labradors from the vehicle and an officer rushed them to a vet for treatment for heat exhaustion. We're now caring for the dogs, who have made a full recovery, and have launched an investigation. 

Campaign manager Holly Barber, who runs the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign, has said:

There's absolutely no reason or excuse that warrants risking your pet’s life by leaving them in a car on their own in this heat. 

People don’t believe it will happen to them or they tell themselves they’ll only be a minute, but it simply isn’t good enough. 

We’re pleading with people not to take the risk and to leave their pets at home where they will be safe and happy.

Be aware of the signs

Dogs Die in Hot Cars

A dog’s normal body temperature is around 39° celsius (102° fahrenheit). Although the upper lethal body temperature of dogs is approximately 42°celsius (108° fahrenheit), brain damage may develop at body temperatures of 41°celsius (106° fahrenheit)

Dogs are covered in fur and do not sweat in the same way as humans do. Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced at high temperatures and humidities.

Cars heat up very rapidly in hot - or even warm - weather. Air-conditioning can disguise the danger that a dog will face once the engine is turned off.

Take action

In an emergency, it's best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. We may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.

If an animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately.

For more information about what to do if you’re worried about a dog in a hot car or a dog displaying signs of heatstroke, call us immediately on 0300 1234 999 for advice. If a dog is in immediate danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.