Every year, dogs suffer and die when their owners make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car - even for “just a minute” - while they run an errand. This blog gives you some advice and tips of what to do if you find a dog trapped in a hot car.
Parked cars are death-traps for dogs: the temperature inside a parked car can rise considerably above the outside temperature in minutes.
Dogs can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting.
If you find a dog displaying any of these heatstroke symptoms such as restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, and lack of coordination:
- Take down the car’s colour, model, make, and license plate number.
- Try to track down the owner in the nearest buildings, or call the RSPCA or local police.
- Have someone keep an eye on the dog. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.
If the authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering dog from the car, follow these steps and then wait for authorities to arrive.
How to cool the dog down:
- Provide water to drink
- If possible spray the dog with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool (but not iced) water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually
- You can also place the dog in front of an electric fan
- Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws can also help. Be careful not to use ice cold water, and don’t over-cool the animal.