As the country basks in glorious sunshine, the RSPCA has launched its annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving animals in overheated vehicles.
After nearly 300 incidents of overheated dogs left in hot cars were reported across the UK during the scorching weekend, the charity has advised members of the public to call the police if they spot a dog in distress.
As temperatures soared above 30 degrees across the two days, the RSPCA's 24-hour emergency hot line received 263 calls relating to concerns for dogs with heat exposure - 26 of which occurred in Greater London.
As the Met Office issues a level three amber heatwave alert, a warning of hot and humid conditions until Thursday (June 22) - make sure you are savvy about the guidelines.
Is it ok to leave my dog in the car for only a few minutes?
The short answer is no.
A survey by the RSPCA revealed a shocking 40% of people believe it is acceptable to leave a dog in a hot car.
RSPCA campaign manager, Holly Barber said: "You should never leave a dog in a hot car. This isn’t a new message, it’s something we’ve been shouting from the rooftops for a number of years now but it’s staggering that more than 40% of people still think it’s okay.
"The message is getting through to many people but there are still too many instances where animals are being left in sweltering cars, caravans and conservatories and tragically some of them have deadly consequences.
"If you do see one, please please call the police who will be able to attend more quickly than us and who have powers of entry into the vehicle."
Other charities, including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, Dog's Trust and British Veterinary Association and PDSA have teamed up to promote the campaign.
What to do if you see a dog in distress
The RSPCA recommend that in an emergency, concerned members of the public should ring 999 and report the dog in a hot car to the police.
This is due to the RSPCA not always being available to attend the scene quickly enough and not possessing powers of entry.
Despite this continued advice, a survey revealed that only 48% of people said the police would be their first port of call.
The RSPCA has issued the following guidelines
- If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately.
- If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage. Instead, tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.
- Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area, douse him/her with cool water.
- If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration plate. Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.
You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger the charity urges you to instead call the police.
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.