Most dog owners understand the dangers of leaving their pet locked in the car on a hot day. But each summer we see heart-breaking reports detailing instances where the advice of health experts has been ignored with often fatal consequences.
The bottom line is, leaving a dog in the car on a warm or hot day is putting its life at risk – regardless of whether it doesn’t feel too warm out, you’ve cracked the windows or you’ve opted for a shaded parking space. The fact is, if it’s 20 degrees outside, the inside of that car could reach temperatures of around 45 degrees within just 60 minutes.
What to do if you see a dog trapped in a car on a hot day
Assess the urgency of the situation
Try to understand if the dog is in distress, and look for any indication of how long the canine has been inside (for instance, via a pay and display ticket). Most importantly, look out for the following signs, which could signal heat stroke…
- Panting excessively
- Reddened gums
If you’re concerned the dog is experiencing any of the above, call 999 immediately.
Try and locate the owner
If the dog seems comfortable enough at the moment and you’re in a location where it’s possible, like a supermarket or shopping centre, ask the staff to make a Tannoy announcement requesting the owner to return to the car and their pet. Just make sure someone stays close to the vehicle to monitor the dog for any changes.
Should you break into the car?
While smashing a window and rescuing the dog might seem like the best thing to do in an urgent scenario, you could be liable for criminal damage. According to the law, you can commit criminal damage only if you believe the owner of the property in question would consent to the damage if they were aware of the consequences. And this may not be the case.
Instead, contact the Police and follow the advice they give you. You should also take photos and video footage of the animal, making sure you capture the number plate of the car. It’s also helpful to take down the contact details of any witnesses.