How to Protect Dogs During a Heatwave

Posted by on June 15, 2022 | Permalink

During a heatwave temperatures could reach heights which can cause animals heat stress and other physical harm – some permanent or even fatal.

Luckily, keeping animals safe is simple. Here’s what you need to do to protect your dog during a heatwave:

  • Never leave a dog in a parked car: Never ever leave a dog in a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods with the windows slightly open. Parked cars are death traps for dogs in warm weather. Dogs trapped inside them can succumb to heatstroke within minutes – even if the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight. On a 26-degree day, the inside of a vehicle parked in the sun can reach 70 degrees in just minutes. Cars parked in the shade aren’t safe, either, as they can quickly become unbearably hot for dogs left inside. Every summer, dogs suffer and die when their guardians make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car – even for “just a minute” – while they run an errand.

  • Keep dogs indoors: Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress and be physically damaging or fatal.
  • Walk – don’t run: In very hot, humid weather, never exercise dogs by cycling while they try to keep up or by running with them. Dogs will collapse before giving up, at which point it may be too late to save them. They can quickly become severely overheated, and an exercise session can turn into a medical emergency.
  • Avoid hot pavement: Dogs’ footpads easily burn on hot roads, pavement, and sand. Test the road surface with your hand before walking a dog while the sun is out.
  • Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all “outdoor dogs”. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see a dog in distress, contact the RSPCA right away and give the dog immediate relief by providing water.

Here’s what to do if you ever come across a dog suffering inside a hot car:

  • Write down the car’s colour, make, and registration number, and have someone try to locate the owner.
  • Call the police. Don’t hesitate to dial 999 if the dog is in distress.
  • If you can’t find the guardian or authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or two) who will back up your assessment of the situation and then take steps to remove the animal from the car.
  • Stay on the scene until authorities arrive and the situation has been resolved.

Please share this vital information with anyone you know who has an animal companion and help save a life this summer.

What About Cats?

Cats need protection and care during scorching summer weather, too. Read our tips on keeping them safe during heatwaves:

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