We've certainly had more than our fair share of hot weather recently and, given the unpredictability of British weather, another scorching hot spell could come at any moment.
And while record temperatures get the headlines, a car can become as hot as an oven, even with the weather doesn't feel warm. According to the RSPCA, "when it's 22 degrees Celsius outside, a car could reach an unbearable 47 degrees within an hour".
So, what can you do to keep your dog cool?
Plan Plenty of Stops
Stopping often will not only help you have a break on a long journey, but it will allow your furry friend to stretch their legs, go to the toilet, have something to drink, and have a cooling treat. The best time to travel would be earlier in the morning or later in the evening as these times tend to be cooler, and the roads quieter so journey time is reduced.
Keep Your Car Cool
Try to keep your car as cool as possible before travelling, such as parking in the shade or turning-on the air conditioning before you travel. Then, once you're on the move, ensuring there is continued ventilation and your dog is shaded, ideally by using sunshades on your windows.
Many different surfaces, such as leather, can become very hot extremely quickly – if you sense a surface is too hot, check with your hand before your dog steps or sits on the surface. It’s always handy to carry a towel or dog bed which your pet can sit on to prevent overheating.
Once your dog is in the car, ensure they are secured safely and cannot get out through any open windows. You can either opt for a harness or a travel crate, allowing them to move freely without posing risk to safety.
Look Out For Heatstroke
Dogs can develop heatstroke when they get too hot and can’t reduce their body temperature, and can become fatal. The signs to look out for are:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- A rapid pulse
- Excessive drooling
- Lack of coordination, or confusion
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice any of these signs, you will need to act fast. Immediately take them to a cool, shaded area and contact your nearest vet clinic. Once in the shade, lay them down in a towel soaked in cold water and let them sip small amounts of water.
At Your Destination
Once you’ve reached your destination, there’s a couple of things to have in mind:
- Take regular water breaks
- Take walks or have playtime in cooler parts of the day
- Know the rules for dogs in a new area