Don’t leave your dog alone in a car.
If you’re going out in the car, think very carefully about what you are going to do with your dog. You should never leave a dog alone in a car.
It can get unbearably hot in a car on a sunny day, even when it’s not that warm. In fact, when it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes.
Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. In a hot stuffy car dogs can’t cool down – leaving a window open or a sunshield on your windscreen won’t keep your car cool enough.
Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke. For example, dogs with short snouts, fatter or heavily muscled dogs and long-haired breeds, as well as very old or very young dogs. Dogs with certain diseases are more prone to heatstroke, as are dogs on certain medication.
If dogs are unable to reduce their body temperature, they will develop heatstroke. Signs to look for include: heavy panting, profuse salivation, a rapid pulse, very red gums/tongue, lethargy, lack of coordination, reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing, vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of consciousness in extreme circumstances.
If your dog shows any symptoms of heatstroke, move him/her to a shaded, cool area and ring your vet for advice immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal and should always be treated as an emergency.
Dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature gradually lowered:
• Immediately douse your dog with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock – you could put your dog in a shower and run cool water over him/her, or use a spray filled with cool water and place your dog in the breeze of a fan.
• Let your dog drink small amounts of cool water.
• Continue to douse your dog with cool water until his/her breathing starts to settle – never cool your dog so much that he/she begins to shiver.
Once you have cooled your dog down you should take him/her straight to the veterinary surgery.