The UK may be a nation of dog lovers, but it seems we are still putting man’s best friend at risk as a new survey released today by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, reveals that over 66% of people have seen a dog locked in a car on a sunny day yet over a third of them did nothing about it.
With temperatures easily reaching over 40 degrees in some parked vehicles, dogs could die within minutes so Dogs Trust has joined forces with the AA and the National Trust to target motorists and visitors with their “Hot Cars Can Kill Dogs” Campaign.
The survey also reveals that 15% of those questioned called the police when they saw a dog locked in the car, 49% tried to alert the driver and 4% actually broke into the car to rescue the dog. Over the last year AA patrols have rescued 832 pets locked in cars and in recent years there have been several high profile cases of canine fatalities.
The “Hot Cars Can Kill Dogs” Campaign begins this month with thousands of joint posters being displayed across National Trust properties and handed out by the AA at summer events and service areas across the UK. All three organisations have also contacted their members via social networking sites and supporter magazines, totalling 21 million people**.
Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, comments:
““It is shocking to see that so many people consider leaving their dog in the car, whatever the weather.
You wouldn’t leave your child in the car. Given how quickly the temperature can rise, it is equally unfathomable that you would leave your pet.
We are delighted to be working with the AA and the National Trust to use the combined force of our members to spread the word and prevent any further dog deaths this Summer.
35% of people who have seen a dog locked in a car have decided to do nothing, but our advice is, if you see it, report it!”
Advice to motorists include:
Never leave your dog alone in the car – even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe!
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 on route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heat stroke and dehydration very quickly
If you do see a dog in distress please contact your local police station or the RSPCA.
National Trust Head of Communications, Andrew McLaughlin, comments:
“Walking the dog can be a real incentive to get outdoors and discover new places. We offer dogs and their owners a huge variety of places to walk close to urban areas, on the coast and in the countryside. If you’re planning to take your dog, it makes sense to check ahead to see what facilities are available to make sure you and your pets get the most enjoyment out of the day.”
AA Patrol of the Year, Andy Smith, comments:
“”The dangers are obvious, you just have to touch the dashboard or seats to know how hot the inside of a car can get. But it’s not just on warm days when dogs are at risk – vehicles can be death-traps even in cooler temperatures.
“So, if you are carrying a dog in the car, plan in some stops, take plenty of drinking water for it and check traffic reports – you want to minimise the time sitting in traffic..”