Pet Health: Dogs die in hot cars

Darren Storey from Northlands Vets has an important message about leaving your pets in cars in hot weather
Darren Storey from Northlands Vets has an important message about leaving your pets in cars in hot weather
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Summer is here and the weather is improving; more sun is on its way.

In fact over the next couple of weekends the Met Office is predicting temperatures reaching the mid to high 20s in certain parts of the UK.

22C (72F) 47C (117F)

25C (77F) 53C (127F)

The table above shows roughly the relative comparable temperatures that can be reached in cars with that of the outside environment.

This weekend, June 15 and 16, around London, temperature may reach as high as 25C (77F).

If you were to keep your dog in the car, even with the window slightly open, it could mean they will be sitting in temperatures of roughly 53C (127F)!

Next time you use your oven to similar temperatures and open the door; that heat wave is what your pet would be sitting in all the time they are in that car.

The RSPCA advises that if you see a dog, or other animal, in a car on a warm day call 999 straight away.

Dogs can suffer from heat stroke just like humans can, and if you have ever had it you will know it is horrible and potentially very life-threatening.

There is a big difference between us and them though.

Dogs regulate their temperature mainly through panting, whereas we sweat.

Panting in a closed warm environment doesn’t allow them to cool down!

However, always keep in mind heatstroke is not synonymous with hot cars only.

For example, if you have your dog running around a lot on a hot day it can still occur.

Symptoms of heatstroke

Heavy panting 

Profuse salivation 

Rapid pulse 

Very red gums/tongue 


Lack of co-ordination 

Reluctance/inability to rise after collapsing 



Loss of consciousness

If dogs show any signs of heatstroke, move them to a shaded, cool area and gradually lower their body temperature. Ring your vet immediately.

Immediately douse them with cool (not cold) water, to avoid shock – you could use a shower, or spray and place them in the breeze of a fan.

Let them drink small amounts of cool water.

Continue dousing until their breathing settles – never cool dogs so much that they begin shivering.

Whether you are a client of Northlands or not we will happily give you more advice if you need it.

Please call 01536 485543 and ask to speak to a clinical member of staff.