Dogs die in hot cars

3rd June 2016

It’s that time of year again when we should all be on the lookout for the safety of dogs in cars. Too many people seem to be unaware of how hot it can get inside a car when parked in the sun.

  • Never leave a dog alone inside a car
  • Dogs can easily die from heatstroke
  • The temperature inside a car can easily reach 50 degrees Celcius in minutes
  • Dogs can’t cool themselves down inside a hot car
  • If you see a dog in distress, dial 999


RSPCA Poster

The RSPCA is leading another campaign to promote awareness of this problem and has produced a great poster that’s worth sharing.

Dogs die in hot cars InfographicRSPCA


"Dogs die in hot cars" An infographic created by the RSPCA

What dogs are at risk?

All dogs can develop heat stroke in a hot car, but some animals are more at risk than others.

  • Dark coat – if a dog has a dark black or brown coat, then they will absorb heat more easily, and become hotter quicker.
  • Long thick coats – dogs with thick heavy hair will not be able to radiate heat so easily. Shaggy breeds of any type
  • Short nosed breeds – any dog with a short, flattened face is less able to pant and breath easily if distressed. Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs for example.
  • Heart condition – if a dog has an underlying cardiac complaint, they could be less able to cope with a distressing situation

Signs of heatstroke

If a dog is displaying any signs of heatstroke, move them to a cool, shaded area and call us at Bollington Veterinary Centre immediately.


Call us on 01625 573375

  • Panting heavily – you will see the dog openmouthed with the tongue out and panting fast. The tongue is often very red.
  • Salivating – as well as panting, the dog will often be drooling saliva. You may see drooling over the seats and windows.
  • Eyes wide – with all the distress, the eyes of the dog will often be wide open with an anxious appearance.
  • Twitching – as the heat starts to increase, the dog may start to show some odd neurological signs. You may see the muscles around the eyes and face starting to make unusual twitching movements. In advanced cases, the dog may even start fitting.
  • Vomiting – extreme heat may trigger a vomiting reflex, so you may see signs that the dog has vomited food or thick frothy saliva.
  • Collapse – as the heat stroke becomes critical, the dog may become unresponsive and collapsed.


Emergency First Aid for dogs

For the best chance of survival, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered.

  • Shade – move the dog immediately out of the sun
  • Cool – find somewhere cool
  • Water – using cool (not cold) water, start to shower the animal. You can douse or pour water from a bucket or bowl.
  • Wet towels – find some wet flannels and towels, and use them by applying regularly over the head, chest and belly
  • Monitor– keep checking the animals breathing and alertness.
  • Get help – once you feel the animal is fit to travel, bring them to us at Bollington Veterinary Centre. Make sure you call us first to tell us you are on your way


Vet experiment – sitting in a hot car

A vet in America has posted a video on YouTube to show how hot it can get inside a car in the sun even with the windows open. It’s only a few minutes long and worth watching. You’ll never leave a dog alone in a car again.