ROAD SAFETY AND breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging pet owners to ensure their animals are kept cool and safe on car journeys during the current heatwave that’s affecting much of the country.
The call comes as forecasters predict continued sunny and warmer weather, with temperatures possibly reaching the high 30s by the weekend…
GEM chief executive Neil Worth urges pet owners to ensure they don’t put their animals at risk by leaving them without shade, water or ventilation.
“No one like to see an animal suffering from the heat and panting excessively. So, when the fierce heat strikes, we need to be sure we provide our pets with ways to help them stay cool.
“This is not just a good idea – it’s the law. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it’s illegal to leave an animal in a hot vehicle. If your dog becomes ill or dies, you are likely to face a charge of animal cruelty.
“This offence can bring a prison sentence of up to six month and/or a fine of up to £20,000.”
GEM has compiled a short checklist designed to ensure dogs stay safe and comfortable on car journeys:
- Stay indoors. Keep your dog at home on the hottest days.
- If you do need to transport your dog, bring plenty of fresh drinking water, and a bowl. Ensure your dog can stay cool on a journey.
- Make plenty of stops on long journeys give your dog a good drink of water. Animals are unable to sweat in the way that humans can. Dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws, so it only takes a few minutes for dogs left in cars on hot days to begin experiencing the distressing symptoms of heatstroke.
- If you suspect your dog is developing heatstroke on a journey, stop somewhere safe and find somewhere cool and shady. However, if signs of heat exhaustion become apparent (for example excessive thirst, heavy panting, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness), you should go straight to a vet.
- Don’t let your dog travel unrestrained. Instead, use a proper travel basket or crate to create a safer space. Dog seatbelts and travel harnesses are also available.
- If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take immediate action. For example, if you’re in a supermarket, roadside service area or garden centre car park, note the car make, model, colour and registration number, then go inside and ask for an announcement to be made. If this doesn’t bring the owner out, or you’re in a location where finding the owner is impossible, then dial 999 and ask for the police.