The RSPCA is poised for a huge increase in the number of calls to its emergency hotline as more hot weather arrives this July – the worst month for incidents of dogs being left in hot cars.
The animal welfare charity – which works alongside 11 other animal charities and organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars – is predicting a peak in reports of animals suffering in the heat during the month of July – after receiving a huge 2,065 calls in June.
Each year, the RSPCA receives thousands of calls from concerned members of the public reporting animals in hot environments and pets suffering from heat exposure – the majority of which concern dogs left in hot cars. Last year, there were 7,187 reports to the charity’s emergency hotline – with 23% of all those calls coming in just one month.
Every year, the charity sees a surge in calls in July – with call-handlers dealing with more than 1,600 calls in the peak summer month in 2016, 18% more reports than any other month.
The majority of calls relate to dogs – often left in cars, caravans or vans on warm days – but the charity also receives concerns about other animals suffering in the heat, from horses to farm animals to fish.
The RSPCA encourages owners to take extra care of their pets in the hot weather. Animals need constant access to fresh water and shade, and dog walkers should avoid exercising their pets during the hottest part of the day.
The charity’s key aim, through the Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign, though, is to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in hot environments such as vehicles, conservatories and outbuildings during the warm weather. If anyone sees an animal in distress in a hot car, the advice is to call 999.
Despite this advice, the UK’s oldest and largest animal welfare charity continues to receive thousands of calls every year about incidents of animals shut in confined spaces in the warm weather. In a bid to get the message out to more people, the RSPCA is revealing the country’s worst counties for leaving dogs in hot cars (based on numbers of calls in 2016)
It’s important to remember not to leave any animal in a car or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise, even when it doesn’t feel that warm outside. For example, when it’s 22C outside, within an hour the temperature can reach 47C inside a vehicle, which can result in death.
In an emergency, the group’s advice is to call 999 to report a dog in a hot car to police. As a charity, the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.