‘MY dog is white, he’ll be fine’ is just one of the pathetic excuses dog owners have given for locking their pets in hot cars.

The RSPCA has been inundated with calls from people who have seen dogs shut in cars as temperatures top 30 degrees Celsius.

A total of 167 calls were received by the animal welfare charity on Monday alone and a staggering 625 have been received between June 11-24 alone.

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That works out at around two an hour and the charity urges people to call 999 in the event of an emergency.

Despite years of campaigning, people continue to risk their dogs’ lives by leaving them unattended in stationary vehicles in the warm weather.

The following reasons and excuses given to inspectors by owners returning to their vehicles with dogs left inside have been published on the RSPCA website:

  • “My dog is white, he’ll be fine.”
  • "They're fine, they're smiling?" (The dogs weren't smiling, they were panting excessively.)
  • "I parked the car in the shade when I got here, I can't help it if the shade moved."
  • "The dog barks when I leave it alone in the house, it annoys the neighbours." 
  • "We only went to buy a new kitchen."
  • "We feel bad leaving him at home on his own all day."
  • "I'm having an open day to sell my house, the dogs would have been in the way."
  • "It's OK, I'm a vet."
  • "It's not like my dog’s on its own in the car, my kid is with it." (On this occasion 'the kid' was a five-month-old baby strapped into a car seat.)
  • "I left the window open."
  • "We didn't think we'd be long."
  • "I've only been in the pub for half an hour, anyway it's OK, I run a dog rescue centre."

Not long is too long

The RSPCA message is clear: ‘Not long is too long’ and the charity urges anybody with a dog not to take the risk and to leave their pet at home. Temperatures can rise quickly in cars, caravans and even conservatories - when it’s 22 degrees Celsius outside, within an hour, the temperature can reach 47 celsius inside a vehicle, which can result in death.

On Monday (25 June) - the hottest day of the year so far - the RSPCA's emergency hotline received 167 calls. That’s around one call every eight minutes!

Be aware of the signs

A dog’s normal body temperature is around 39° celsius (102° fahrenheit). Although the upper lethal body temperature of dogs is approximately 42°celsius (108° fahrenheit), brain damage may develop at body temperatures of 41°celsius (106° fahrenheit)

Dogs are covered in fur and do not sweat in the same way as humans do. Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced at high temperatures and humidities.

Cars heat up very rapidly in hot - or even warm - weather. Air-conditioning can disguise the danger that a dog will face once the engine is turned off.

Take action

In an emergency, it's best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. We may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.

If an animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately.

For more information about what to do if you’re worried about a dog in a hot car or a dog displaying signs of heatstroke, call us immediately on 0300 1234 999 for advice. If a dog is in immediate danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.