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Owners Are More Likely To Leave Their Dog In Their Car Than Their Phone

ice dogDogs Trust

Britain’s Dogs Trust charity has launched a hard-hitting campaign to warn dog-owners of the dangers of leaving their pets in parked cars, even for a few minutes.  

In a country where people are far more likely to leave their dog in a car alone for a few minutes (28 per cent) than their phone (10 per cent), the Dogs Trust aims to highlight this urgent and dangerous issue before more beloved pets suffer.

Research unveiled as part of campaign shows that despite being a nation of dog-lovers, more than one in four UK dog owners admitted to leaving their dogs unattended in cars. Almost half of them (48 per cent) believe it is okay to leave a dog in a car if counter-measures are taken, such as parking under a tree or leaving a window open.

Unfortunately, that is a myth. In reality, partially-lowering the window has no significant effect on the temperature inside a parked car.

Under 20 minutes in a hot car can prove fatal to a dog should its body temperature exceed 41°C. As the temperature inside the car rises, in just a matter of minutes, the dog’s suffering will become evident through excessive panting, whimpering or barking. This will develop into a loss of muscle control and ultimately the kidneys will cease to function, the brain will become irreversibly damaged and the heart will stop.

To illustrate this fact, the charity has released a powerful time-lapse video in support of this campaign, featuring a melting ice sculpture of a dog locked in a car.

In addition to Dogs Trust’s research, the British Automobile Association (AA) has disclosed that the number of potentially fatal incidents involving dogs trapped in cars has risen by over 50 per cent in the last six years. AA Patrols are most commonly called out by worried owners who have accidentally locked their keys in the car with their pet. Since the start of April this year, the AA has attended more than 150 breakdowns because of a pet locked in the car.

“We claim to be a nation of dog lovers, but it’s shocking how many people are willing to put man’s best friend in serious danger,” said Paula Boyden, veterinary director of Dogs Trust. “As soon as the car doors are shut the countdown begins - which could potentially end in an agonising death for the dog.

“Our message is simple: don’t leave your dog in a parked car.”

The charity has issued the following advice to pet owners and concerned animal lovers:

  • Don’t leave your dog in a parked car, even for a few minutes - even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and keeping the windows down does not make it safe.
  • If you see a dog in distress in a parked car, call the police.
  • Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving: avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle.
  • Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off en route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans, so they can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly.
  • If you are present at the rescue of a dog from a hot car that is clearly in distress, seek immediate veterinary advice. The very first priority is to prevent the dog from getting any hotter, attempt to provide shade from the sun and move to a cooler area. Dampening the dog down with cool (but not freezing) water will help start to bring the body temperature down.
  • Wet towels can be used to cool a dog but these must be regularly changed or spraying them down with water and placing them in front of the air conditioning vent to enhance evaporation on the way to the emergency appointment.
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