How to help a dog locked in a car on a hot day – including smashing windows

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Last weekend saw temperatures of over 20 degrees in many places, and that means conditions inside cars can get very dangerous for dogs. Some owners still aren’t aware of the risks and so there are steps to take if you see an animal in distress.

A temperature of 22 degrees outside can make for an unbearable 47 degrees inside a vehicle within just an hour.

Without a window open or any air conditioning on, that will result in temperatures akin to an oven, enough to kill a dog.

The RSPCA says that If an animal appears to be in distress, you should not hesitate to dial 999 for police assistance, the police will then inform the RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.

Dogs struggle in high temperatures because they can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads.

In hot stuffy cars dogs can’t cool down and leaving a window open or a sunshield on windscreens often does not keep a car cool enough.

You can also call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line for advice on 0300 1234 999.

However, if the dog is in immediate danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.

Hull Live reported the RSPCA’s official guide to helping a dog in a hot car.

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It states that you should establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately.

If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.

If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.

Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why.

The advice states that you should take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.

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 according to section 5(2)(a) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971).

Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow the RSPCA’s emergency first aid advice.

This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.

The RSPCA says that if an animal appears to be in distress, you should not hesitate to dial 999 for police assistance, the police will then inform the RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.

Make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you still feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.

If you’re at a shop, venue or event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.

If possible, get someone to stay with the dog to monitor their condition. If they begin to display signs of distress or heatstroke, be prepared to dial 999.

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